Neighbors: Who pays for water main break damage?

(WBIR) After KUB crews dug up the road and one residential driveway to repair a water main break, neighbors asked 10News to find out who is responsible for footing costly clean-up bills.

The break happened near a home on Sanderson and Pleasant Ridge roads, near Western Avenue, at about 5:30 a.m., according to KUB.

"It was massive. I mean it looked like a water park. It was water spewing everywhere," said Janiesha McGill, who lives next door the home where crews tore up the driveway. "There was mud everywhere, it flooded the front yard, into my front yard, I had to pick up Coke bottles and stuff because it washed so much debris from the street."

McGill said she wanted to know if KUB would be financially reliable for the damage to her neighbor's yard and driveway.

According to Stephanie Midgett, KUB's Spokesperson, KUB's first priority is to respond quickly, stop the water, repair the main, and restore service. Then, Midgett said KUB will repair roads, driveways, and yards back to their original conditions.

"If we need to, we will pay a third-party landscaping company," said Midgett.

Midgett said if there are other damages, KUB's claims department works with the customer and their insurance provider on a case by case basis.

While water did not seep into the Northwest Knoxville home, a massive water main break in April destroyed a heating and air conditioning company. In what KUB called its "largest, most complex water main break it's ever dealt with," the roadway washed into the building, and the heavy weight of the water caused the roof of John H. Coleman to collapse.

"I'm glad it wasn't that bad," said McGill.

Midget said in commercial water main breaks, KUB will also fix yards, driveways or parking lots, and roads, however damage to businesses are handled internally.

"Other damages go through claims between our customer and their insurance, and again, that's a case by case basis," said Midgett.

Midgett said through its Century II program, KUB is in the process of phasing out all cast iron pipes, which typically last 100 years, with ductile iron pipes, which have a lifespan of 125 years.

The pipe that broke in Northwest Knoxville Thursday was installed in 1955.

"That pipe was still well within its lifespan," added Midgett.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, crews were repaving over the residential driveway, blocking a section of Sanderson Road between Elderwood and Pleasant Ridge roads.


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