Street-repair contractors blamed for sewer backup that caused $42K in repairs for Omaha couple

City attorney’s office says it will follow up with the contractor’s insurance company
The fowl basement flooding was caused by asphalt chunks that had clogged the sewer.
Updated: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:58 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - It’s been almost 11 months since an Omaha couple woke to a nightmare in their basement: a sewer backup that cost them thousands of dollars.

But you may be surprised to hear what caused it and who is responsible.

The video is from the day after New Year’s, but it’s not a celebration cleanup that Marti and Terry Bloes will remember.

“It was sickening,” Marti Bloes said. “That night I wanted to vomit. we had all this sewage in the house. “

The sewer backed into their finished basement.

Terry said he raced down to save his ukulele collection because he feared the sewage and humidity in this room would cause a long-term sour note for his instruments.

But much couldn’t be saved, and the contaminated basement needed extensive repairs.

“All the trim along every wall and two-foot down, they took out the drywall and the insulation,” Terry Bloes said.

From cleanup to remodel, the total cost to the retirees was $42,000.

“Our of retirement, out of savings, and out of the equity in our home.”

The city sent out a crew to investigate, and they found asphalt chunks likely from street resurfacing had clogged the sewer.

“It took nine months for the city to get back to us with this letter that says it’s the fault of the company, so it’s been turned over to their insurance company,” Marti Bloes said.

That’s Liberty Mutual, which the Bloes said hadn’t paid them what they need.

“At least I’d like to hear from this insurance company, like, ‘Sorry that had happened; we’ll get back to you,’” Terry Bloes said. “They didn’t even contact us, call us, email, letter, or anything.”

6 News emailed the company, which responded: “Liberty Mutual doesn’t publicly discuss claims” and “Contact the claimant for the latest update.”

Following up with the Bloes:

“Oh my gosh! They’re calling me,” Marti Bloes said.

She said an adjuster will look at their claim in the next day or so.

“Finally it looks like we might be getting somewhere,” she said. “But I’m not sure I’ll believe it until I’ve got the check in my hand.”

The couple’s 11-month wait on the claim process doesn’t stink quite so much anymore.

The Omaha Assistant City Attorney, who handles claims, thanked 6 News for bringing to her attention the lack of communication from the contractor’s insurance carrier. The city will follow up to make sure the couple gets a resolution to their claim.