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SUPERIOR - Dane Jusula sifted through the box of receipts he has collected since the flood turned his finished basement into a construction zone worth 10's of thousands of dollars.
"This is our family room; obviously it's not a family room anymore," Jusula said.
Jusula said that on the night of the flood water was spouting up in the laundry room and bathroom.
"I'm taking a rag, stuffing a rag into the toilet and putting dumbbells on top of the rag," Jusula explained.
Despite his efforts, the water made its mark several feet throughout his basement. "The part that's frustrating is the fact that we have no outlet," Jusula said.
Jusula spent several hours going through city documents and found himself upset that the city has a more than century–old system where sewer and water are combined and that Milwaukee is the only other Wisconsin city to have such a design.
His questions turned into a petition aimed toward rallying residents together who want answers from the city.
"Obviously there's frustration," he said. "There's a sense of helplessness, that there's no one to talk to, there's a sense that you're alone."
"I feel for them," Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen said.
Hagen has toured homes with flood damage across the city.
He said the city was already looking at upgrading the system and has done it in other parts of town over the years, but, for a big cost.
"They're very expensive projects, the money doesn't come cheap," Hagen said.
Hagen said the city has looked into funding options, but that the upgrades will ultimately come from sewer rate increases for residents.
And while more than 60 homeowners out of the 700 affected continue to file claims, saying the city should pay for last month's damage to their homes, the mayor says those costs have a big price, too.
"If all 700 homes or even half came to claim, and were successful, we'd be bankrupt," Hagen said.
It was the sort of answer that will not let people like Jusula sleep any better at night, but for the time being, it may be all he can get.
The Liability Claims Committee will not start looking over claims against the city until everyone has had a chance to hand one in.
The city council is expected to start discussions about sewer rate changes in the fall.