Businesses question EBMUD's practices

June 30, 2009 7:18:59 PM PDT
Last April, an East Bay Municipal Utilities District pipe busted open and flooded several El Sobrante businesses. More than two months later some people are still waiting to be reimbursed by the water district's insurance company.

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At Kaliente Restaurant in El Sobrante, the food looks great, but not the baseboards. They are a mess from water damage.

"They don't help the ambiance," Oliver Chavez said.

For Chavez, they are the remnants a flood last April, when one of EBMUD's high pressure mains blew.

Irene Huston, among others, found her clothing store submerged beneath four inches of water.

Next door, it flushed out Kola Onafowade's computer business.

Much of the block is still suffering.

"The flood washed me away," Chavez said.

EBMUD did do a clean-up, and says it contacted all of the flood's victims. But they then left other insurance issues to a third party adjuster.

They are not expedient about it; they are taking their time." Onafowode said.

EBMUD says payments in cases like this generally take 90 days, not from the time of the incident, but from the time victims file a claim.

"Ninety days? That's a joke," Onafowode said.

But Onafowode is not laughing at how he finally received a claims form just two weeks ago, more than two months after the flood.

"So they want me to go out of business, then, before I do something," Onafowode said.

It does make a person wonder, when a water district causes a flood that pushes businesses to the brink, why must the victims be so pro-active?

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