A Providence homeowner who says his sewer connection failed because of vibrations caused by a highway project appears to be getting help.
NBC 10 has documented three cases on the same block of Maple Street where sewer connections failed during construction on the Interstate 195 relocation project during 2010. Two houses run by the nonprofit Stop Wasting Abandoned Property at the end of Maple and 48 Maple St., closer to the construction, which is the home of Michael Johnson Sr.
As a result of the shaking during construction, Johnson said the sewer connection to his house broke, leaving him without toilets, sinks or a shower.
The state Department of Transportation had a seismic monitor a block down and over -- not on Maple -- that showed what it said was acceptable vibration levels. The department said it's not responsible unless it can be proven otherwise.
Aaron Muniz, a plumber from Diffley and Son, saw NBC 10's initial report, and went out to see if he could help.
"These pipes are very old. There are joints every 2 feet. You're talking 100-year-old pipes. They can't take a small earthquake. There's little to no room to move with those specific kinds of pipe," Muniz said.
The only way he can tell for sure what happened would be to dig up around the pipe from the street to the house. The beginning of the job is estimated to cost between $5,000 and $20,000.
There are some indications outside 48 Maple St. that work is going to be done: a blue flag, blue paint, yellow paint and white paint.
Blue is the water line; yellow, gas; orange, cable; and white indicates where the cuts in the street are to be made.
It's not clear who's behind the work. RIDOT said it isn't the department.
Meanwhile, the only call back the Johnsons got from the Mayor's Office of Community Relations was the day after NBC 10's report. They said they've heard nothing since then.
The Johnsons still have no use of their toilets, sinks or bath.
"Anyone get a chance for help, I applaud it. But where is it for the little people," Michael Johnson Sr. said.
SWAP, which paid $22,000 to fix its sewer connections, is joining forces with Johnson to take legal action against RIDOT.
23 Kenney Drive
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