Poulsbo home flooded with raw sewage -- again

POULSBO, Wash. -- When the rain poured, an exploding manhole trashed a home and spilled some ten thousand gallons of sewage. And it wasn't the first time.

Phil Holt shudders just thinking about last Monday when torrential rains and high tides caused streets to flood. In Holt's case, the severe weather led to a blown sewer line.

"I was sitting upstairs reading a book and I heard this big 'poosh,'" said Holt. He knew exactly what it was as the same thing had happened in 2007.

"Just opened the basement door, and after you've had it once, you know it's happening all over again," he said.

A big concern was raw sewage flowing into Liberty Bay. A neighbor spotted unhealthy items in the water.

"He said there was even toilet paper down in the bay and everything, too," said Holt.

Now, a week later the warning signs are coming down. But concern remains as the city did not alert county of the sewage spill for 24 hours.

"They should have been reported sooner. I'm the first one to admit that," said Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson, adding the city was tied up.

Holt is skeptical. He remembers getting the run-around when the same thing happened to him five years ago. Holt also believes the city should have gotten a handle on the sewer system by now since it blew in nearly the same spot then.

"If you're asking me, I'd say definitely. They should have capped it off completely."

Holt is filing a damage claim, which the mayor promises to deal with quickly.

"We are sympathetic, and we will address Mr. Holt's concerns. It's not our position to ever ignore anyone," Erickson said.

The last time it happened, FEMA was around to help defray some of the costs of cleanup. Not so this time.

Holt hopes the city reacts quickly as his cleanup bills are mounting quickly. Again.
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