Three more lawsuits filed over raw sewage problem

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Three more homeowners have filed lawsuits against the city of Davenport, Mayor Bill Gluba and Public Works Director Mike Clarke over problems with the public sewer system which led to raw sewage backing up in their basements this spring.

"It was bad.  I had two feet of water at first, then all of a sudden, raw sewage. Feces in the basement. I lost my furnace, I lost my dryer, I had to go a week without hot water. Lots of crying," said Rebecca Daniel, a resident in the West Garfield neighborhood who filed one of the lawsuits.

Attorney Mike Meloy is representing Daniel and three others, claiming the city is negligent for not maintaining its sewer and storm water systems. Meloy says more lawsuits are expected.

"There's going to be more filed this week. No resident, no taxpayer in the city should have to be in a situation of getting sewer water, including feces, in their basement and not have the problem fixed," Meloy said.

"We're talking about the city's failure to maintain their sewer system by pushing storm water into the sewer system and pushing sewer water into people's basements. Why do they have 60 million dollars to buy a casino, but no money to fix the sewers? It doesn't pass the smell test here," Meloy said.

The city has recommended that residents buy back flow prevention valves for storms in the future.

In its legal response to the first lawsuit over the sewer backup filed last month, the city says it is entitled to immunity "as the sanitary sewer system in question was built to the design standards existing at the time of construction."

It also states that the "plaintiffs failed to mitigate their damages by installing a backflow prevention valve and by placing personal property unnecessarily at risk by storing it in their basement," and asks that the lawsuit be dismissed.

Related: Insurance issues challenge residents during sewage backup