Wastewater and sewage floods Innisfil homes and the town's synagogue

Wastewater flooded homes and buildings in Innisfil during a major storm over the weekend, damaging everything in sight.

Inside the basement of the Innisfil Tent City Synagogue, cleanup crews in hazmat suits and masks were busy removing the soiled mess on Wednesday.

Witnesses tell CTV Barrie that two and a half metres of sewage filled the lower level of the synagogue. There is no word if any valuable materials were lost.

The president of the synagogue's congregation says he hopes insurance will cover the costs, with any shortfalls being paid for by the town.

"It is just devastating," Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin says. "Our customer service staff was open all weekend, trying desperately to get in touch with people because there's the synagogue, but there's seasonal residents too."

Feces and human waste is floating in Carol Griffith's basement and in the basements of several neighbours after they flooded Saturday morning.

The Town of Innisfil blames significant rainfall, and the frozen ground for causing a strain on the water treatment system; resulting in wastewater flowing back into the homes on St. John's Road and 6th line.

Griffith's family spent the weekend cleaning the mess. "This is unacceptable," she states. "Twenty-two years, never a problem."

Restoration crews were in the home on Monday, trying to remove furniture, carpet and appliances that were damaged; more than 48 hours after wastewater started pouring out of toilets, showers and sinks.

Walter Malcolm, president of InnServices, says crews were quick to respond.

"We're sympathetic to the residents. This was a tragic event that happened." Malcolm says 65 millimetres of rain fell over the weekend. "This is an extreme climate change weather event that occurred... It was a huge downpour of water that came down at one time."

But Griffith isn't buying the town's response, saying the town's pumping station had issues and pushed all the sewage back into nearby homes.

"They told me straight out on the phone - the gentleman - that the plant itself overflowed and flooded out," she says.

"We're looking at every entrance into that pumping station. Where it came from, because this is groundwater that is infiltrating the sanitary sewer where it shouldn't be in the first place," Mayor Dollin adds.

Mitch Schaub of PuroClean worked alongside a crew cleaning floors and walls and removing damaged property in several homes.

"At the bottom step, stairs going down into the basement, that's how high it was, and it was sewage," he explains.

Residents say sump pumps seized up, and furnaces stopped working. They expect hundreds of thousands of dollars in claims, with some saying their insurance companies say they won't likely cover any future claims.

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