City of Duncan says it’s not responsible for water main break damages

City of Duncan says it's not responsible for water main break damages

A Duncan couple says they’re shocked the City of Duncan doesn’t plan to cover the damage to their home and yard from a water main break.

It happened in July when water gushed across their property.

Cheryl McLay showed how high the water flowed outside of her house, sending gravel throughout her Miller Road yard after a water main break.

“Woke up to a river running around the house through the crawlspace,” recalled McLay.

It was in the wee hours of July 24. The couple says the water rushed through their crawlspace, soaking drywall. It also shifted the soil level in their yard, and it took more than an hour for the city to turn the water off.

At the time, construction was happening on the road near their house. They believe heavy equipment could’ve damaged the water main.

The couple says city workers told them the city would cover any damages.

They’ve since made a claim, but in its response, the city says the couple should make a claim with their personal home insurance.

“I think the city should take responsibility for their lack of maintenance on their pipes,” said McLay.

Duncan’s Mayor Michelle Staples says in a statement that the file has been referred to the city’s insurer for a decision, saying “the city does not take any part in determining liability and each case is analyzed by the claims processors to determine if a liability exists…”

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, which represents insurance companies, says that typically municipalities aren’t found responsible for broken water mains.

“When you’re able to recover from a municipality is when the municipality did something wrong, if they were negligent. We know that water mains, like other components, they can just break down over time,” said Rob de Pruis, the Bureau’s national director of Consumer and Industry Relations.

The McLays believe the city has been negligent and wants to avoid making a claim with their own insurance if they can.

“That means higher insurance rates for the next seven years pending if we had another claim because if this happened again, it would raise our rates even more,” said McLay.

They’re also worried the leak could still be there as half their grass is still green and they haven’t been watering.

In 2021, an Esquimalt family faced a potential bill of more than $50,000 after a flood when they thought they had flood coverage.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!