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Clifton Couple’s Joint Birthday Ruined After Sewage Test Floods Basement

CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP)– A New Jersey couple had a joint birthday celebration ruined after their city’s sewage test flooded their basement and ruined flooring that was put down the day before.

“We come home to find a coating — like about half an inch — of sewer water completely over that brand new flooring, which is less than 24 hours old,” Mike Prybicien, a certified athletic trainer, told 1010 WINS. “It’s sewer water, it’s disgusting.”

Officials in Clifton apologized to Prybicien and his wife Jennifer after Friday’s mishap and promised to pay for the cleanup and new plumbing work.

But the City Attorney Matthew Priore has told the couple to first collect on their homeowner’s insurance before asking the city to pay for repairs.

“New Jersey law requires us to first look to any source of insurance before the city under state law can pay the claim,” Priore told CBS 2’s Lou Young.

Councilwoman Mary Sadrakula believes the city should not force Prybicien to file an insurance claim.

“This isn’t a storm that happened when you get a sewage backup and you call your homeowners, this is no different than having a contractor come into your house and doing work,” Sadrakula told CBS 2.

This is apparently not the first time the couple has had to deal with sewage issues.

Prybicien said sewage came into his home on April 30 and that this latest incident highlights a larger issue.

“The city has to do some work to the infrastructure,” Prybicien said. “There’s infrastructure issues dating all the way back to 2007.”

CBS 2 reported the Prybicien family is so freaked out by the incident that they now shut off their sewer line when they leave the house for any length of time and have to remember to open it again before somebody uses the bathroom.

The idea of filing two five-figure claims in a matter of months seems like a bad idea to the Prybiciens, Young reported.

“We don’t need our homeowner’s premiums to go up.  We’re afraid of the insurance company dropping us,” Jennifer said.

The issue is on the City Council agenda for next week.

As Young reported, it is extremely rare for a home to be built on top of a major sewer line because towns keep a record of where the sewer lines are located to prevent dangerous situations from happening. CBS 2 advises if you have any concerns, call your town’s engineering department.

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