Kasson residents blame city for sewer backups, seek answers from mayor

KASSON, Minn. (KTTC) – While we had clear skies Monday, the past few weeks have been anything but. Heavy rain flooded homes in Kasson and caused sewer backups, forcing some residents to find temporary living spaces.

Soiled carpets and a host of appliances are scattered along 1st St. NE, a monument to the mess these residents are dealing with.

“Two of my kids’ bedrooms were downstairs now all three of them are huddled into one bedroom upstairs,” said John McCabe who moved into his home only three months ago.

Dozens of frustrated homeowners gathered at East Park Monday afternoon to meet with Mayor Chris McKern and the city’s engineer. They blame the City for the sewage water that spilled into their basements and expressed rage that this has happened on multiple occasions over the years.

Mckern tried to explain on social media, “The wastewater treatment plant has been overwhelmed with inflow from stormwater.”

Mayor McKern says before he was elected in 2016, the previous city council worked on projects aiming to reduce water getting to the sewage system. “We just completed a $10 million reconstruction project of about 35 blocks. We’ve been asking homeowners since 2007 to make sure their sump pumps are not pumping into the sanitary sewers. It’s a cumulative problem, it’s not one thing that’s going to fix it.”

The Kasson Mayor added he has experienced flooding too.

“There are no words you can really say to make someone feel better. I hope that we can all come together and work towards a solution. The council will work on something. We don’t know what yet, I mean we got the plans that we had in place and now we need to look at it going forward to speed it up or do something different,” said McKern.

And that’s leaving many residents in limbo.

“I got some bad news from my insurance policy this morning. They’re only paying five percent the value they’re insuring the house for,” said Paul Jordan, who says his home has been flooded four times in the last 19 years.

Other homeowners are in worse shape without any coverage for sewage backup — something not normally a part of standard insurance policies.

Dodge County leaders are calling on affected homeowners to call the Emergency Management hotline, hoping the numbers will mean a state or federal disaster declaration.

Dodge County Emergency Management Hotline: (507)635-6420

RELATED: DODGE COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SEEKING DAMAGE REPORTS 

“Now we’re not sure what if any assistance if going to be available through a declaration like that, it just depends on the information we get from homeowners,” said Matt Maas, director of the Dodge County Emergency Management. “But we’re doing the best we can to assist residents.”

At least 170 homeowners across the county have reported damages related to flooding, according to Maas.

Volunteers from across Minnesota will be contacting Dodge County residents who’ve reported the damage to the hotline so they can get help dealing with the mess. These volunteers will have official county badges and will not try to sell you anything.

“Those who have asked for assistance, we’re getting back to them, and they’re getting contacted by these volunteer agencies to schedule a time to clean out their basements and homes. For those who do not need immediate assistance, we got three teams doing damage assessments and then submitting the information to the state.”

The next step comes at Wednesday’s council meeting where city leaders will elaborate on what will happen going forward and look for more public input on how they can help.

Linda Ha

Linda Ha

Reporter | @LindaHaTV | lha@kttc.com

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