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MIKE CONNORS is the Almont village manager...


STEVE SCHNEIDER is the Almont village council president...


THIS IS A TRUE STORY of how they handled a situation caused by NEGLIGENCE on the part of the village of Almont

From dictionary.law.com....
NEGLIGENCE
n. failure to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would do in the circumstances...,

During the second week of April 2019 Almont DPW in conjuntion with a private company replaced a section of sewer main under Johnson Street in front of a private residence.

At the time of the project the DPW had NO DOCUMENTATION and NO KNOWLEDGE of where the home's private sewer line exited the home, where it travelled, or where it connected to any sewer main.
The DPW chose to proceed anyway. They chose NOT to exercise the care toward others which a reasonable or prudent person would.

i.e. - They didn't BOTHER to find out where the homeowner's private line was located before running a BACKHOE along the entire length of the front property line.

APRIL 16 2019

On April 16th, just days after the DPW replaced the sewer main, raw sewage was backing up into the basement of the home.
Using a shop vac the homeowner spent several hours sucking sewage out of a basement drain and carrying it outside with a bucket.

APRIL 17 2019

In the morning the homeowner found his basement flooded with sewage at a depth of 3 to 4 inches.
The homeowner purchased a utility pump and began pumping sewage out of the basement.

This situation would continue FOR SIX WEEKS.


Almont DPW was called and came to the site. DPW personnel stated they never saw the home's private line during their work.
The homeowner asked where his private line ran and was shown a piece of paper that showed NO USEFUL INFORMATION as to;
where the sewer line exited the home,
where it traveled,
or where it connected to any sewer main.
Almont DPW left the worksite and did not get back to the homeowner with any further information.
A professional plumbing company was called and came to the residence. The technician ran a snake into the largest cleanout in the basement. The snake got stuck but the technician managed to dislodge and retrieve it. The homeowner was told the root cutter on the end of the snake was damaged, possibly due to catching the cutter on the edge of a dislodged clay tile.




APRIL 17 to April 24, 2019

The homeowner continues to employ one or more utility pumps to remove sewage from the basement.


During the nights he has to wake every two to three hours to turn on the pumps. Usually he finds the sewage has already backed up high enough that it is not contained in the shower stall and has flooded the basement again.
During the days the homeowner spends much of his time mopping with bleach water and removing contaminated property from the basement.

APRIL 25, 2019

A second plumber is called to the residence. He runs a snake into the cleanout and also gets stuck. It takes himself and his assistant to dislodge and retrieve the snake. He advises the homeowner to find someone with a 1.25" snake

APRIL 26, 2019
THINGS GET WORSE



A plumber runs a large 1.25” snake into the cleanout and gets it stuck. He and his assistant are unable to dislodge the snake. The end of the snake is put through a basement window and the plumber attempts to pull it out with his work truck.
He is unsuccessful. The snake stretches and snaps.
The homeowner now has a 1.25" snake stuck in his private sewer line that the Village of Almont destroyed.


Sunday, April 28, 2019

The homeowner phones the Lapeer County sewage emergency line. Two Almont DPW employees respond.
They (eventually) manage to remove the cover from the recently installed manhole, and declare "...all clear here.."
The homeowner says "Of course it's all clear. It's a brand new manhole on a brand new sewer line and I'm not connected to it."
Almont DPW leaves.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Early in the morning WHILE MONITORING THE SEWAGE PUMPS the homeowner sends an email to village manager MIKE CONNORS....

Sent: Monday, April 29, 2019 3:08 AM To: 'mconnors@almontvillage.org' Subject: sewage backup

Approximately two weeks ago Almont DPW and a private firm replaced a section of sewer main on Johnson street between Centennial and Washington, directly to the east of my home at 305 Johnson.
Shortly after the work was completed raw sewage backed up into my basement.
Almont DPW has been to my home twice since this started.
Three professional plumbers have snaked my lines attempting to clear the blockage. They were all unsuccessful.
Sewage continues to flood my basement.
Miss Dig has already been contacted and I have a go ahead for excavation. I have someone ready to do the necessary work to resolve the situation. This is what we will discuss when I arrive at the office.
I will be at the village office in a few hours. You should make yourself available to me for a short conversation.
I am confident you'll be waiting for me when I arrive.

The homeowner visits VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS who refers to him as "...the guy with a snake stuck in his line..."
VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS tells the homeowner the problem is in his private line and is his private responsibility.
The homeowner replies "Not if the DPW destroyed it."
Mike says "That is true, but YOU have to prove it."
Homeowner: "Don't you think it's REASONABLE to think they may have caused the problem? I've been in my home twenty years, and just days after their work my basement floods with sewage due to an impenetrable blockage."
Mike: "Oooohh, I don't know..."
Mike goes on to say he has a very busy schedule "...with appointments and meetings...". The homeowner tells him he's very sorry to hear about his busy schedule but he might try thinking about what it's like to have a basement FLOODED WITH RAW SEWAGE FOR A WEEK.
He tells Mike all further communication will be vial email and leaves.
Below is an email Mike sent to the homeowner later in the day....

There is no claim at this point. You hired a plumber who had his equipment stuck in your private sanitary lead. You need to hire a plumber to repair your problem. If you prove the break or blockage is on our side of the issue then we can discuss insurance and/or corrective action. DPW has been out a few times to address the issue – our hands are tied when the issue is on private property and on a private sanitary sewer lead. Keep me updated to the status of your plumber and/or the camera tv of your sanitary line.

The homeowner realizes the Village's response is going to be deny, delay, and deflect. The situation is going to drag on and he can't continue pumping raw sewage onto his yard, out on the sidewalk, and into the street. He has a portable outhouse delivered to his home.
The family of five used this outhouse for the NEXT FIVE WEEKS because MIKE CONNORS refused to accept responsibility for the destroyed sewer line and refused to act to have it repaired.

MAY 1, 2019
Evidence mounts against The Village...

A professional leak detection company is called. The technician runs a camera into the cleanout in the SE corner of the basement, but is unable to gather video evidence of the blockage because the snake is in the way.
Instead the technician uses a line locator to trace the snake under the basement floor to the SE corner of the house and outside. Outside he finds the snake heads DIRECTLY TOWARDS THE WORK TRENCH and that is where it is stuck.

May 2, 2019

An underground utilities locator comes to the residence. The technician uses Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) to locate the private sewer line.
GPR shows the private sewer line intersects with the work site and there is an anomaly at this location.
The technician states the anomaly is "... consistent with water in the ground, like you'd see if there was a broken line. Or pottery shards, like you'd see if an old clay tile line had been broken. Or both"

Below is part of the GPR technician's report, paid for by the homeowner at a cost of $530..



At the same location where the GPR technician found the anomaly a sinkhole was forming...



May 3, 2019

The homeowner's attorney sent a letter to VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS, including the following....

"...after the Village failed to correct the problem and sewage continued to flow into Mr. ..... basement, Mr. .... sent Mr. Connors written notice of the problem by email and inquired about submitting a formal claim with the Village. In response, and in violation of MCL 600.1419(2), Mr. Connors failed to provide any information to Mr. .... regarding filing a claim with the Village."

May 7, 2019

At the Village Council meeting a council member brought the subject up in open discussion and was informed that it was "now at litigation stage" and "that the resolve will be determined through that process."

The homeowner never presented his case to any court and to his knowledge, as of June 5th, 2019, neither had the Village.

From Merriam-webster online... LITIGATION: the act, process, or practice of settling a dispute in a court of law

May 10, 2019

The homeowner's attorney provides
VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS

with information gathered using ground penetrating radar, including the locations of the private sewer line and the anomaly at the end of the driveway.
Village manager Mike Connors DID NOTHING.

May 14, 2019

County Commissioner Ian Kempf pays a visit to the residence to get a firsthand look at the situation. He tells the homeowner it is the most obvious example of a destroyed sewer line he has ever seen. He goes to speak to

VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS, but Mike refuses to accept that the Village caused any damage.

VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS insists the ONLY evidence he will accept is video from a camera run into the private sewer line.

May 28, 2019

It is SIX WEEKS to the day since sewage first overflowed into the basement. Because VILLAGE MANAGER MIKE CONNORS stubbornly refuses to accept the overwhelming evidence against the Village, the homeowner is forced to pay an excavating company OVER SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS to dig and provide the final piece of evidence.



They find that the homeowner's private sewer line runs a few inches below the newly installed main.

NOT SURPRISINGLY TO ANYONE WITH A BRAIN AND THE ABILITY TO USE IT, THEY FIND THE TOP HALF OF THE HOMEOWNER'S PRIVATE LINE WAS REMOVED BY A BACKHOE AND THE LINE IS FILLED WITH GRAVEL.

CASH OUTLAY BY THE HOMEOWNER = ALMOST FOURTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS

DESTROYED PROPERTY = OVER FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS

For a little over $500 the Village of Almont could have located the homeowner's private sewer line BEFORE the work began. Instead they chose to proceed down the path of IGNORANCE and NEGLIGENCE and the debacle cost THIRTY SIX TIMES that price.

June 5, 2019

The homeowner addressed the village council and asked if he could expect a reduction in the sewer fees on his next bill since he had no access to the sewer main for six weeks of the twelve week billing cycle.
Council president Steve Schneider

told the homeowner he wasn't going to "negotiate at this time".
The homeowner told Schneider it was a YES or NO question; could he expect to see a reduction in the sewer fees on his next bill?

Schneider told the homeowner he could not comment on the subject because it was "in litigation".

The homeowner said he had never taken the case to any court and to his knowledge neither had the village.
Schneider: "..you are not an attorney, I am an attorney..."
Homeowner: "No, but my attorney is an attorney..."

Eventually Schneider told the homeowner "No". The homeowner left the council meeting, followed by a police officer.

From Merriam-webster online... LITIGATION: the act, process, or practice of settling a dispute in a court of law


To sum up,
the Village of Almont NEVER ACTED TO RECTIFY the situation they caused.
the Village of Almont NEVER ACCEPTED RESPONSIBILITY for the destruction of the private sewer line
the Village of Almont NEVER APOLOGIZED to the homeowner for the physical damage or the ensuing six weeks of misery
the Village of Almont NEVER PROVIDED ANY MONETARY COMPENSATION at all to the homeowner.



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