Sewage floods North Ogden family basement. Who pays for it?

Mar 15, 2024, 6:13 PM | Updated: 7:14 pm

NORTH OGDEN – A North Ogden family is stuck with a $55,000 repair bill after sewage flooded their basement.

They aren’t at fault, but according to the city, it’s also unclear who is.

That’s essentially the final answer the Paynes received from the North Ogden City Council on Tuesday. Now, they’re left with tens of thousands of dollars in repairs.

It could be considered the worst kind of flooding.

Paynes in their basement

Genevieve and Mason Payne say muck poured in quickly, covering their basement last May. (Mike Anderson, KSL TV)

“I mean, you hear the water coming in from upstairs because that’s how fast it was coming in,” Genevieve Payne said. “And so, by water, I mean poop. It was really gross.”

Genevieve and Mason Payne say the muck poured in quickly, covering their basement last May.

“And by the time the city was here, it was like we just had to come up because we were walking in sewage, and we’re like, this is not safe,” Genevieve Payne said.

It took a city crew and contractor several hours to clear the blockage in the sewer main line, eventually pulling up some concrete pieces.

They were initially blamed on nearby construction, but the Paynes said they were told the rocks came from multiple unknown sources, meaning no fault was determined.

Mason Payne said, “Even the person from the city said that this is the worst that he’s ever seen from one of these kinds of situations.”

Raw sewage floods basements, but who’s responsible for the damages?

The city initially helped with $5,000. The Paynes’ insurance covered twice that, but the total estimated costs of damage and a rebuild of their basement are closer to $55,000.

That’s why they asked the city to cover more, but ultimately, on Tuesday, city council members decided in a split vote that was not going to happen.

“They, therefore, feel like they have no obligation to help their residents when it’s clearly an issue that has nothing to do with private residents,” Genevieve Payne said. “Like, this isn’t a private citizen flushing cement down a toilet.”

Their only apparent option now is to hire a lawyer, but the Paynes say they can’t afford that.

Genevieve Payne said, “We’re already, like, having this really big financial burden on our shoulders.”

North Ogden City previously had a city ordinance allowing them to help in no-fault situations like this. The city council voted on Tuesday to remove that provision. Among the reasons stated are that the city wants to be responsible with taxpayer dollars and that other surrounding cities don’t offer that kind of help.

While the Payne’s figure out who is paying, their family set up a GoFundMe* account help with repairs.

*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.

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Sewage floods North Ogden family basement. Who pays for it?