CLYDE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Since December of 2022, Michael Cooley and his family have been displaced from their home in Clyde due to a sewer backup.

Clyde City Manager Christopher McGuire said the cause of the backup was due to some residents flushing items they weren’t supposed to.

“The things that get flushed down toilets. Have long term impacts not only to your own lateral sewer lines, but to your sewer mains themselves,” said McGuire.

He shared that four homes on California Street suffered damages due to the pipes.

“There were two residents that had substantially more damage where the sewage water actually came up out their toilets and tubs and damaged their house. Mr. Cooley and his family suffered the most damage,” shared McGuire.

The City of Clyde has taken responsibility for the damages and assured the families impacted that the city will cover repair costs.

“We went out and met with the residents and immediately filed a claim with our insurance carrier,” added McGuire.

The Cooley’s estimated cost of damages and cleaning services is more than $160,000, but the bill is more than the City of Clyde can pay by law.

“Unfortunately, the way Texas statues are written, the event was considered a single event and the liability is capped at $100,000 dollars for a single event,” Mcguire explained.

This means that the four families will divide the $100,000 to fix water damages caused by the backup. McGuire said it’s an unfortunate situation, but the city has done everything it can to help.

“By Texas law there’s nothing else the city can do. The insurance company paid the claim and because of Texas statues that have been litigated all the way to the Texas supreme court and by the Texas constitution, cities liability is capped and you can’t make payments in excess,” said McGuire.

Cooley said he was offered $77,450 dollars since his family suffered the most damage, but he has not accepted the claim because it’s not enough to cover the repairs.

“It’s financially ruined me and if it doesn’t get fixed, I have no way out,” Cooley expressed.

He added that for months, his family has been living at a rental property. Meanwhile, they are still paying a mortgage and bills for a home they can’t live in.

“I have no flooring at all, I have no sheet rock. Two feet up, all the way around, there’s still some sanding to be done. Especially in the back room because the wood was so saturated with sewage,” added Cooley.

Cooley said his family has lived in their home for eight years. He shared that sewer backup issues have been a constant issue on the block and his family just wants to be able to move back home. Although they have home insurance their plan covers water damages, it does not cover sewage damages and they don’t have the funds to afford the repairs. Cooley added that this issue could have been avoided ahead of time.

“They ignored this issue and I know there are other streets in Clyde that have similar issues. Maybe not as bad, but people are really running a risk,” said Cooley.

McGuire said the entire sewage system on the block has been replaced entirely. The pipes are larger now to prevent something like this from happening again, but Cooley said he wishes the city spent more time on repairs on things like the roads and pipes rather than focusing on bringing new business and developers to the city.

“I’m forced to either not take any payment and keep trying to pursue a different avenue where I can get enough money to fix my house or take that settlement and they have no responsibility at all anyway,” said Cooley.

The Cooley’s are unsure of what to do next but for now, they will continue to reside at a rental property.