WEST VALLEY CITY — It's a homeowner's nightmare. A basement ruined by sewage.

In West Valley City, it's been more than a year since a family's basement backed up with more than 500 gallons of sewage. The basement is still in a state of disrepair, and the family is suing.

Jeff Stone recalls the fateful day in May, 2010. A city water project was in progress outside his home and a sewer line was accidentally ruptured.

Gravel that entered the line essentially created a dam, and it all came up in Stone's basement.

"It was just soggy and gross and it covered this whole area," Stone said, reflecting as he stood in his basement. "It was just everywhere."

The sewage was inches deep in places. Stone said it took a truck two trips to suck it all out.

"You could smell it and we thought, 'OK ... our toilet exploded,'" Stone said. "It was horrible."

Today, life has changed entirely for the Stone family. Life is cramped. The five children spend most of their time upstairs, not wanting to show their friends the torn-up downstairs.

Most of the floor is concrete. The rest is carpet and pad where the sewage didn't reach. Most of the walls have been carved up. The contaminated sheet rock was cut away.

With no resolution apparently in sight, the Stones and their attorney have sued West Valley City to, they contend, get their lives back.

Who is to blame is a highly-disputed question.

West Valley City at one point sued its own contractor. The lawyer for the contractor denies it was their mistake. The Stones contend it was a city project and the buck should ultimately stop with the city.

City Manager Wayne Pyle Tuesday was sympathetic, but unflinching.

"It's been a very frustrating time for the Stones understandably and we share that frustration with them," Pyle said. "But we've done everything we can to get the insurance company and the contractor moving."

Stone and the contractor's lawyer say the city gave the company an unlimited amount of time to respond.

"We've just kind of felt like we're sort of living in limbo — like any day now it's going to be fixed — any day, any day," Stone said. "And the day just never comes."

The Stones are seeking up to $100,000 to cover repairs and other damages.

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