A family has filed a lawsuit against Davenport after the city's sanitary sewer system backed up into their basement during the heavy rains of April 17-18.
Bettendorf attorney Mike Meloy filed the lawsuit Friday in Scott County District Court for Ronald and Linda Wiebold, whose basement in their home at 525 W. Garfield St. was flooded with sewer waste during the two-day storm.
Named as defendants in the suit are the city of Davenport, Mayor Bill Gluba, and Public Works Director Mike Clarke.
Meloy said the suit claims that the city has failed to properly maintain its sanitary and storm sewer systems. By not maintaining those systems, sewer water was allowed to infiltrate the stormwater system and it backed up into the Wiebolds’ basement, according to the lawsuit.
A total of 4.11 inches of rain fell on the Quad-Cities during April 17-18, according to official National Weather Service statistics kept at the Quad-City International Airport in Moline.
“It was up to the third step in our basement,” Ronald Wiebold said Friday of the sewer water that inundated the basement. “There was about 2 ½ to 3 feet of waste. We had feces on the floor. It was nasty. It was terrible.”
Wiebold said they were able to clean up the mess, but whenever there is a heavy rain, “we have to be vigilant around here. During the Memorial Day weekend, we were here all weekend because of the rains. The frustration level is unbelievable. We shouldn’t have to live like this.”
While that was the first time the sewer backed up into their basement, Wiebold said it continues to do so at the homes of some neighbors.
“If the city of Davenport didn’t repair Brady Street for 10 years and it was full of potholes, the citizens of Davenport would raise hell,” Meloy said. “These people are fed up with the situation. There will probably be more lawsuits filed by more residents on this matter.
“We’ve got millions to buy a casino, but we have no money to fix the sewers, nothing to spend on this delinquent sewer system,” he added.
Meloy said he is asking for monetary damages and injunctive relief against the city by asking the court “to order the city to fix the sewer system that they own, operate and maintain.”
Jennifer Nahra, the communications director for the city, released a statement saying the city is “processing the Wiebolds’ claim. If the process reveals the city is responsible for the backup, the Risk Division will work with them to process city payment for the damage.
“At this point, the city has not denied or accepted any claims,” Nahra’s statement continued. “It would be unfortunate if the Wiebolds or any other resident incur the unnecessary cost of an attorney through this process without first receiving confirmation as to the end status of the claim, especially if it is accepted by the city. Each claim will be thoroughly reviewed and will require some time to fully investigate.”