Davenport faces three more suits over sewage

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Homeowners have filed three more lawsuits against the City of Davenport over raw sewage that backed up into their homes during Spring storms -- the latest suit coming from a Davenport police officer.

Wednesday, Christine Thoeming recalled the night in May when six inches of raw sewage and feces poured into her basement.

"We were literally getting the water and scooping it, running up the stairs and throwing it outside. Then it hit us -- this is sewer water," said Thoeming.

She and her husband, a corporal in the Davenport Police Department, filed suit against the city Tuesday. Thoeming admits suing her husband's employer is still a worry.

"Yes, it is, but we have to do what we feel we have to do," said Thoeming.

"That shows how serious a problem this is. When you have a police officer who has to sue the city to get just compensation, perhaps you know that there's something wrong with the sewer system," said attorney Mike Meloy.

Meloy represents the Thoemings and 11 others, all demanding that the city pay for damages after the sewer system backed up during storms in April and May.  The three latest lawsuits were filed by homeowners on West 57th Street, West 37th Street and Fillmore Street -- all outside the West Garfield neighborhood where the suits began.

In past meetings with homeowners, the city has said it simply doesn't have the money for a permanent fix. The Thoemings, though, say this suit is about more than damages, but rather forcing the city to fix the problem.

"Since 1998? C'mon. You have known about this, and you have swept it under the rug. Well, guess what? You're not sweeping it under the rug anymore. You're going to fix it, and you're going to do it right," said Thoeming.

The city has said it can't comment on pending litigation, but Mayor Bill Gluba tells News Eight that over the past five years, the City Council has spent more money on upgrades to the sewer system than any previous Council for the past 40 years.

While Gluba understands some homeowners' frustration, he said projects like the West Side Diversion Tunnel are in the works to help alleviate the problem.