Water main break fills 60 homes with sewage: 'Everything is destroyed'

Julie North woke up to a disgusting mess in her basement on Saturday morning, along with the rest of her neighborhood.  

"We ran down here and it was already up to the bottom step and things are floating… it was shooting up out of the shower drain and the toilet," North told FOX 9.

A massive water main break on Minnetonka Boulevard filled up nearly 60 homes on Quebec, Sumter and Rhode Island Avenues in the Oak Hill neighborhood with sewage water.

At first, the city blamed the break on the ground thawing, but residents FOX 9 spoke with think it is connected to a nearby construction project. The League of Minnesota Cities, which is the city of St. Louis Park’s insurance carrier, is investigating the cause of the break and will make a final determination about liability. 

"We had no idea what was going on. We were all freaking out," said North, who says she was alerted to the mess by a neighbor.

She had to have her entire basement torn down to the studs. Like many others on her block, her general insurance policy doesn’t cover sewage issues.

"Everything is destroyed. Everything had to be thrown out that had any contact with it because it is (sewage water)," North said.

St. Louis Park residents are feeling helpless after a water main break filled up nearly 60 homes on Quebec, Sumter and Rhode Island Avenues in the Oak Hill neighborhood with sewage water.

From mitigation to rebuilding to replacing the furnace, washer and dryer, water heater and air conditioner, Jennifer Synder says it will cost more than $70,000 to repair the damage to her basement.

She’s been disappointed what she calls a delayed response from the city.                                                                            

"Our entire block has been livid. We feel abandoned. We feel completely helpless," Synder said. "We are on Wednesday right now and I have yet to see someone from the city coming down and taking action about how they can help and what we’ve been through."

At an emergency meeting Wednesday night, council members approved a two-phase approach to help residents financially. The first phase would use COVID-19 relief funds to reimburse homeowners for up to $30,000 in clean-up costs. The next phase would offer a $30,000 low-cost loan program to help with restoration. The council is considering additional future relief options. The decision came following extensive discussion by the council and comment from affected residents. A community meeting for residents to learn more about reimbursement and other resources available is scheduled for Thursday night at the Lenox Community Center.