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Only on 10: Sewage backup at Johnston home leaves family outraged, disgusted

For the second time since December, a Johnston family has had their neighborhood sewage backup into their home. (WJAR)

For the second time since December, a Johnston family has had their neighborhood sewage backup into their home.

Gina and Ken Almstrom knew something was wrong when the smell started burbling up out of their basement Tuesday evening.

“I'm angry,” Gina told NBC 10 News. “I just want everything to be fixed. I don't want to have to live in sewage.”

Ken noticed some workers in tank trucks outside their house with a hose going into the sewage line in the street Tuesday evening.

“I run out to the street, start yelling, screaming at him, tell him what's going on,” said Ken. “And he says, 'oh, really?' And I'm like, 'yeah, it's backed up, whatever you're doing is backed up into my basement.'"

While the Almstrom's live at the high point of the Green Valley Estates neighborhood, the low point two blocks away is where the town of Johnston confirms both the main and auxiliary pumps failed.

So, they called out contractors to pump it out into trucks, then dump it in the lines in front of the Almstrom's to have it properly course through the system.

“They said they had a new employee there, and they have a process the way to do it, I guess they're supposed to go slow, a little at a time," Ken said. "This guy dumped a huge truck-full wide open and it just…filled it up, and it backed up into our house.”

The town and contractor said if the Almstrom's had a backflow valve, or one in proper working order, it would have prevented the issue.

A 2009 town of Johnston ordinance requires homeowners and businesses at their own expense to install the backflow valves, but the town estimates only 25 percent have so far complied, even though all have been sent repeat notifications, according to the town.

But costs can range from $500 to $1,500, which may be cost prohibitive for some.

Meanwhile, the Almstrom's are having their mess cleaned up, after contacting their insurance company.

Yet, claims against the town, where no backflow valves have been present, historically are denied.

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