On Your Side: Marshfield, Mo. family must spend thousands to clean up sewer backup problem

Published: Apr. 24, 2023 at 5:26 PM CDT
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MARSHFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Imagine you’re starting your day and eating breakfast when all of a sudden, raw sewage spews out of your toilets and tubs. That’s exactly what happened to a family of five in Marshfield. They’re left cleaning a huge mess and fronting the bill. It could happen to you too.

“It started coming up through this toilet and that drain, completely filling that shower tub, spilling over,” said Jonathan Matthews.

The Matthews family lived in their newly renovated home for just a few days. Matthews says it was like a geyser of his neighbors, well, you know.

“It flooded this entire hallway to the living room,” he said. It was in every room.

“Worst smell in your entire life,” he said.

Thousands of dollars were spent on home upgrades, destroyed in minutes.

“Watching all that hard work and everything we put into the house, just to get crapped on,” he said.

A clogged line is to blame. It’s a private line, which means he must pay.

“There was zero indication that this could have been a problem that I could have avoided,” he said.

His homeowner’s insurance will not cover it. This falls under what’s called sewer backup coverage. He doesn’t have it.

“Check your coverage. Never know when you’re going to need it,” said Matthews.

Marshfield City Administrator Sam Rost told On Your Side he couldn’t talk on camera due to scheduling but said in an email:

It is a very unfortunate situation; however, it is a private sewer line that the city has no right-of-way or easement for, and that is on private property and is not maintained by the City of Marshfield.

“The problem is they do have an obligation to keep their streets clean of the sewer. Our house was right next to one of their parks. There was a time raw city sewage for two blocks, coming out of that pipe,” said Matthews.

The Matthews want a city main on Mill Street. That means neighbors could connect to a new line, not one that’s decades old. The city administrator says the Board of Aldermen is considering that request which could cost about $50,000. In the meantime, the Matthews are building back their home one project at a time.

“Buying things as we can afford them,” said Matthews.

If you don’t have it, now might be a good time to check your homeowners insurance. Sewer backup insurance can cost as little as $5 to $10 monthly. The Matthews hope to find a permanent solution because they fear this will happen again.

On Your Side will continue to follow this story.

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