Millbrae Families File Lawsuit Against City, Plumbing Company Over El Nino Storm Damage

The storm caused a sewage line to backup into several homes.

Two families along the Peninsula are still dealing with a massive clean up following an El Nino storm in March.

The storm caused a sewage line to backup into several homes. Two of those homeowners are now suing the city and the contractor who was working on the main line.

"It was like a geyser," resident Jason Chen recalled of the storm.

Following the strong El Nino storm, Chen said human waste began spewing out of every toilet and shower head in his home. Next door, debris could be seen flowing out of the air vent and into the basement.

"(The storm) turned my life upside down," Chen said.

Chen and his neighbor's insurance claims were denied because the sewer line is on city property. Now the families are filing a lawsuit against the city of Millbrae and "Sewer Rat" -- a plumbing company contracted to repair the line which was backed up due to heavy rain.

Chen and his family are renting a small apartment in town until the repairs can be made, but he is running out of money. He estimates repairs to cost about $500,000.

"We're scrambling everywhere, asking friends and faimly to lend us money so we at least get a house," Chen said.

The city will not comment on pending litigation, but in March told NBC Bay Area employees with Sewer Rat likely improperly sealed the line. At this point, Chen does not care who is to blame and is just eager to get home.

"Take responsibility for what happened," Chen said. "And our life would be a lot easier."

Sewer Rat did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.

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