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Tue., Sep. 16
Serving the community of Ogdensburg, New York
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Sewer backup causes stink between resident and Copenhagen board

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COPENHAGEN — For the second time, the village sewer has backed up into the home of Stephen and Dawn Petrus, 2932 Cataract St.

Mr. Petrus went before the village Board of Trustees on May 30. He contends the backup was caused by improper construction of the village sewer system when it was installed in 1999. Mr. Petrus said he had requested a backup valve be installed when the line was put in since there was a toilet in the basement. He claims he was told a stop valve wasn’t necessary since the house would never have a problem.

However, a break in the pipe between the village’s pump station and sewage treatment plant led to a sewer system backup in 2001, causing damage to the Petrus home. Following that incident, Mr. Petrus removed the toilet and blocked off the sewer line.

In January, a backup again occurred. Mr. Petrus was in Florida at that time and was contacted by Mayor Kenneth Clarke.

“I told him of the problem and asked him to have someone check the cellar,” the mayor said. “He said he was not worried because it could not back up but he returned to find the debris. I put them up in a hotel and had it cleaned up. He was happy with it at the time.”

The mayor said the bill for the cleanup was submitted to the village’s insurance company but he does not know if they will pay since the village’s responsibility is only to the curb stop.

Mr. Petrus contends the village should pay for the cleanup which he said was not completed and reimburse him for loss of property caused by the backup.

“We’re trying to sell — no one is going to buy it now — they’ve killed the value of the house,” said Mr. Petrus, who is seeking a lawyer to take action against the village.

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