SIOUX CITY | A Sioux City homeowner has sued the city, claiming that it violated its own codes when approving sanitary sewer permits on his and neighboring properties, resulting in a broken sewer line that has damaged his home and property.
Brandon Willson said in his lawsuit that the city has ignored requests to fix the sewer line because, he said, city officials have told him that it's a private system.
Willson is seeking an order directing the city to immediately fix the sewer line and bring it up to code. He's also requested a monetary judgment to compensate him for his property damage and punitive damages.
City attorney Nicole BuBois did not immediately return a call Friday seeking comment.
In his lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Woodbury County District Court, Willson, who is represented by Sioux City attorney Harold Widdison, said he discovered in March that the sanitary sewer line on his property on 32nd Street had broken. The city had approved and issued sewer permits for Willson's property and homes in the 3100 block of Morrison Avenue and the 3200 block of McDonald Street, all of which would be connected to a single sanitary sewer line on Willson's property.
According to city code, "two or more premises with separate owners cannot be supplied from a single connection."
After an inspection by city workers confirmed the sewer line was broken, Willson said in the lawsuit, city risk manager Don Trometer told him that "it was not the city's problem because it was a 'private system' and not a 'public system.'"
Trometer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Willson's garage, home, driveway and deck have begun to sink because the foundation is being eroded, and a neighbor's home also has been damaged, the suit said. Willson said in the lawsuit that the broken sewer line and the city's inaction are a health and safety threat to him and his 3-year-old son.
The city in August paid $195,000 to settle a lawsuit filed in 2014 by Joyce Downing, whose yard at 30th and Pierce streets had been plagued for years by sinkholes caused by storm sewer leaks.