Renovation underway on Champaign apartments ruined by sewage

CHAMPAIGN–After a meeting with property managers Monday, residents at the Champaign House Apartments were relieved to know they have options after a sewer backup left 20 units unlivable.

McKinley Property Management has owned the Champaign House Apartments for 10 years and managers say the complex has never has a sewer backup, until Saturday.

“All of a sudden the toilets and the bathtubs started to overflow with sewage,” said McKinley regional coordinator, Ken Ford.  “So the sewage was just coming up and shooting up and just started to fill the 20 units in the lower levels.”

Leaving those units unsafe and uninhabitable, and leaving 18 residents without a place to live. They were given options at a meeting with property managers Monday.

“If they wanted to get out of their leases, they could do so no penalty, all their money was being refunded,” said Ford. “We were able to place some residents into other apartments that we had, and then also, if you'd like to continue to be a resident, we're going to go ahead and put you up in a hotel, we also got pod units for storage.”

Four broke their leases, another four moved to other apartments, and the rest are waiting out the wipe-down in a hotel, until they can return home.

“Everything that's been soiled has to be removed, including some of the drywall,” said Michael Lambert, a property maintenance inspector for the City of Champaign. “Everything has to be cleaned, sanitized and dried down to an appropriate humidity level and then they can put the new materials back up.”

Managers hope to have that completed in three to four weeks.

Other residents that live in upper-level apartments expressed some concerns about the smell and the potential for mold to grow. Lambert says the smell will go away as the clean-up progresses and since crews are working quickly to renovate the units, he does not expect the little mold he has seen to spread.

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