Millbrae Homeowners Face Daunting Cleanup After Raw Sewage Seeps Out of Toilets, Bathtubs, Air Vents

Several Millbrae homeowners are faced with a daunting cleanup after they got an unpleasant surprise Saturday while El Niño storms barreled through the Bay Area.

Raw sewage seeped out of toilets and bathtubs inside the Aristakessian family home for seven straight hours. A home video filmed Saturday evening shows the sewage coating the entire residence's floor. 

"There was sewage, debris and water everywhere," Herag Aristakessian said. "My toilet and shower stall were all flooded."

Millbrae Interim Public Works Director Peter Vorametsanti says the city is investigating the problem and crews are on hand to fix the sewer line.

Vorametsanti suspects employees of the company Sewer Rat Plumbing cut a hole in the main sewer line, and then covered it with a steel plate instead of capping it. The storm pushed rocks into the line, clogging it and backing up raw sewage into at least three homes, he said.

Harry Herpe's garage and office flooded too. By Monday, 25 bags were filled with items of sentimental value that were damaged.

"We got flooded out in our downstairs basement," Herpe said. “Water came up, raw sewage came up through the toilet, through our downstairs room and office, cascaded through the garage and basement, just destroyed a lot of memorabilia."

The Aristakessian home was hit the hardest, though, with sewage pouring out of the air vent and into several rooms. The family has been told that it may take six months to a year to make the needed repairs during which it is not safe for them to continue to live there.

"It flooded the entire upper story and then it all seeped down into the drywall so the whole ceiling, the whole foundation of the house is rotten and saturated with fecal matter," Aristakessian said.

On Monday, the Aristakessians also learned that their insurance company will not cover any of the repair costs. They are, however, allowed to file a claim with the city.

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