Sewage Backup Leaves Henderson Woman Homeless - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/23/04 - Henderson

Sewage Backup Leaves Henderson Woman Homeless

  A Henderson woman finds herself homeless and dealing with thousands of dollars in bills, all from a problem completely beyond her control. And, it's a problem that could just as easily happen to you.

  For Jackie Grovner, the past week has been a nightmare. A clogged sewer main backed up into her home, filling it with raw sewage three inches deep. Everything from her carpet, to her furniture was ruined. She and her 16-year-old son have not been able to live in their home for more than a week. But that's not the worst of it. She just found out, her homeowners insurance, doesn't cover sewage backup. According to Jerry Johns of Southwestern Insurance Information Service in Austin, several insurance companies began quietly dropping sewage backup coverage from policies a couple of years ago. And on top of that, the problem could have been avoided if only her home had been fitted with a clean-out valve... a valve she had no idea she didn't have, or even needed. That valve should have been installed when the home was built in order to meet code. But what really makes her mad is the city of Henderson told her they can't help.

"If I had flushed the commode and it had backed up, it would be different," said Grovner, "but everybody else's stuff coming into my house? Blocks and blocks of neighbors? I'm sitting here, this is my house and I'm having to deal with it? That's unfair."

It may be unfair, but it's the law, says Henderson Mayor Foy Brown.

"I feel for her, because we're talking about anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000, because she's got all of that saturated in her wall and everything," said Brown. "But, we can't, the citizens can't subsidize everything that goes wrong in people's homes, when the legislature said we're not at fault."

While there is no assurance it will do any good, Mayor Brown encouraged Jackie to petition the city council for assistance. In the meantime, Jackie is still cleaning up.

Kevin Berns reporting

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