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T-shirt may be cause of sewer blockage that damaged 9 homes in Magna

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 4:17 p.m. MST

Crews from the Magna Water District make sure a waterline is clear Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, after something blocked the line on New Year's Eve, sending water into nine homes.

Marc Weaver, Deseret News

MAGNA — A sewer blockage in a Magna neighborhood could be connected to someone flushing a T-shirt down a toilet.

Homeowners are hoping for some financial help to clean up the mess.

The sewer backup happened at nine Magna homes near 7200 West and 3000 South on New Year’s Eve. Instead of celebrating the beginning of a new year, Tammy Brinkerhoff was still assessing the damage to her home on Wednesday.

“It’s unknown right now, other than we had a couple finished bedrooms and we have to replace the flooring and some sheet rocking,” she said, “and so we don’t know the extent of the damage yet.”

She has already spent $2,000 just to clean up the sewage through her basement.

The Magna Water District said its insurance company has representatives at the nine homes affected by the backup and is assessing the damage and liability.

The cause of the blockage is believed to be a T-shirt. A clean-up crew was sent to clear the line, and “the last thing that they saw going through the hole was a T-shirt,” said Brent Williams, general manager of the Magna Water District. “So we are just assuming that’s what caused the blockage.”

Brinkerhoff said the cause of the blockage sounds fishy.

“It doesn’t make sense how a T-shirt can go through someone’s toilet and not clog their toilet and their piping systems, but can get to the sewer that’s much bigger and can back that all up,” she said.

Williams said a lot of people probably don’t realize that items flushed down the toilet can cause a lot of damage to the system.

“All it takes is that getting hooked, snagged up on a piece of pipe and then it builds up from there,” he said. “That might have just been the initial cause of it, and then everything else just backed up behind that.”

Whatever the cause, the damage has been done. Brinkerhoff doesn’t know how long it will take to clean up the mess, but she’s happy she has insurance coverage.

“Luckily, our insurance company will pay a certain amount to a certain point, so we have a little bit of leeway that way," she said. "But I know some neighbors don’t have that luck.”

Williams expects to receive a report from the insurance company sometime next week.

Contributing:  Peter Samore 

E-mail: vvo-duc@ksl.com

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