Ottawa

Gatineau investigating weekend sewer blockage that soaked homes

The City of Gatineau says it still doesn't know why a section of its sewer system backed up on the weekend, soaking the basements of some 30 homes with contaminated water.

30 homes on rue Nobert had contaminated water in basements Sunday

Cleaning companies were called to rue Nobert Aug. 11 after a sewer blockage caused contaminated water to back up into the basements of some 30 homes. (CBC)

The City of Gatineau says it still doesn't know why a section of its sewer system backed up on the weekend, soaking the basements of some 30 homes with contaminated water.

Residents of rue Nobert, near Highway 50 and Montée Paiement, discovered the overflowing sewage Sunday afternoon. City crews unblocked the pipe around 6 p.m.

The city has confirmed an investigation is underway, but the incident has residents worried it could happen again. 

Sylvie Bélanger said she discovered water in several rooms of her basement after neighbours texted her to say sewage had backed up into their homes.

"The claims adjusters are in my house taking out what is contaminated, tearing out the floors. I do not know the extent of the damage yet," Bélanger said in French on Monday. The smell was unpleasant, she said.

No reason given

The City's director of communications, Jean Boileau, confirmed a system blockage in the rue Nobert area, and said residents have been told how to file a claim if needed. 

Bélanger said she was informed she had 15 days to submit a claim to the city, but was not told how the blockage occurred in the first place.

Nathalie Massé, another resident, also had water in her basement. 

"A blocked sewer, you always ask yourself if it will be repeated," Massé said in French. She said neighbours whose homes sit on higher ground weren't affected.

Coun. Daniel Champagne acknowledged the concerns of residents of his ward.

"It's not an easy situation for people going through this right now, so we are here to help them through this," Champagne said in French. "I understand that city services have been working ... to bring the situation back to normal, but for the residents on the street it's not a normal situation until it's cleaned up."

With files from Radio-Canada's Christian Milette

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