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Valley News Dispatch

Raw sewage floods unit at McMurtry Towers in Vandergrift

Mary Ann Thomas
| Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, 6:15 p.m.
Vandergrift welcome sign.
Jack Fordyce | Tribune-Review
Vandergrift welcome sign.

A clogged sewage pipe in the McMurtry Towers in Vandergrift forced one resident out of her apartment and a cleanup of raw sewage, some of which was reported in the lobby of the Westmoreland County-owned high rise.

Late Friday evening, McMurtry Towers resident Tammy Trentin, 45, heard gurgling coming from her bathroom.

“Raw sewage came out of the toilet and it came up through my tub, completely filled it up, and it was overflowing,” she said.

The sewage flooded Trentin’s apartment floor, rendering it uninhabitable. There were reports that the sewage leaked into the lobby of the high rise.

“We are working as quickly as we can to be responsive,” said Mike Washowich, executive director of the Westmoreland County Housing Authority.

The authority sent a plumber on Saturday to unclog the pipe, according to Washowich. They still to need to investigate the cause of the blockage to prevent future issues, he said.

A restoration company was on scene Monday to assess damage in Trentin’s unit, clean and make recommendations.

Trentin has been staying with friends and family. Washowich said the county will work to find accommodations for her.

“Like any homeowner, these type of things happen. Sometimes you don’t know why,” said Washowich. “Our buildings are, in some cases, 40 to 50 years old.”

As to the report of sewage in the lobby, Washowich said Monday the county will have professionals examine the site immediately to assess the extent of where the sewage went and to recommend a course of action.

By mid-afternoon Monday, contractors were at the high rise and plans were underway to move Trentin to another apartment, according to her mother, Carole Trentin, who also lives in McMurtry Towers.

“We’re happy with how things are getting resolved quickly this afternoon with her housing and her possessions,” she said.

Trentin said she had no renters insurance.

Washowich recommended that residents in county high rises consider purchasing renters insurance.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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