by: David Ham Updated:
EVERETT, Wash. - A property owner in Everett is raising a stink over sewage that spilled during a fall storm.
The City of Everett has estimated it will pay out about $3 million for business owners and homeowners who experienced property damage from two rain storms in late August and early September.
"All of a sudden, the toilets started backing up and backing up quick. There was no time to contain anything," said Steve Wicklund, who owns the building that houses Salon 4 Hair Design.
He estimates he paid about $15,000 to replace and clean the flooring after the sewage overflowed into the space.
The City of Everett has received about 180 claims so far. City spokesperson Meghan Pembroke said that the city has accepted 90 percent of those claims. Thirty-eight claims have been settled and 15 have been rejected.
Wicklund's claim is one of them.
"When we looked into it, we found the main sewer line was blocked by a 2-by-4 and a very, very large hairball about 2 feet long—completely blocking the sewer pipe, preventing the water from flowing," said Pembroke.
She added, "Ultimately it doesn't matter where those blockages came from, those are things that aren't supposed to be in the sewer system and they prevent the sewer system from operating properly."
Wicklund doesn't believe all of the hair came from his tenant's business.
"That's an exaggeration and it was never mentioned for over two months after the investigation. If they had that kind of hairball they would have come to us and said, 'Here it is' -- no, they haven't done that," said Wicklund.
He argues there was another backup even before the Aug. 29 storm. He believes the city should have done a better job maintaining the pipes.
"I've said to the city over and over we need a clean main to run a business here," said Wicklund.
He plans to appeal the city's decision to reject his claim.