By Matthew Saari

Something stinks in the village of Whitehall.

For more than two months resident Christina Steves has battled with the village over a sewer line which became compromised on Oct. 2 when a neighbor’s tree roots blocked the line, causing the pipe to burst and discharge raw sewage into Steves’ basement.

“When I came home I heard running water,” she said. “When I went downstairs I found sewage spraying the basement…it was already puddling and flooding the flooring.”

Steves notified the village the next day and Department of Public Works employees were sent to assess the situation.

“When the crew went into the basement one of the crew members had to leave within moments, they found the smell so overwhelming,” Steves said.

“This had been the worst one I’ve seen,” confirmed DPW foreman Steve Brock, who also confirmed that this was raw, untreated sewage.

The crew dug a hole to access the sewer line, cordoning the area off with road cones. However, after the prompt response, communications from the village became nonexistent, Steves said, noting she had heard nothing further from the village by Oct. 17.

“At that point we didn’t really know who was at fault,” said Mayor Phil Smith.

Having received no direction from the village, Steves notified her homeowner’s insurance company.

“The insurance company advised me to get out of the house because the situation was probably toxic,” she said.

A cleanup remediation firm contacted to assess cleanup costs estimated the cost at $8,844.19, Steves said. Shortly after that, Steves said she was notified that her homeowner’s policy wouldn’t cover the incident.

“After I got that phone call I contacted the village office,” she said.

This is only a preview of the story published in the Whitehall Times. To read the full story, pick up a print copy of this week’s paper at the newsstand or read it online here.

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