Langley Township Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)

Langley Township Civic Facility. (Langley Advance Times files)

Tree roots cause sewage chaos for Langley family

The Murrayville homeowners asked for the removal of a willow tree on Township land

A Langley Township couple says a municipally-owned willow tree has cost them $17,000 and needs to be removed before it wreaks more havoc on their drains and basement.

Stephanie and Richard Hather live in the 4700 block of 216th Street near Five Corners, and say that over the last two years, a tree on Township land just off their property has caused sewer backups and blocked pipes on their property.

Problems began about two years ago, but came to a head on July 1 when the Hather’s basement suite flooded, due to invasive roots in the sewer and water systems, they said during a virtual delegation to Langley Township council on Monday, July 13.

The Hathers have moved out of their own home and ceded the upstairs to tenants, Stephanie told the council.

In total, they’ve suffered $17,000 in costs due to the roots clogging pipes. The family’s insurance will cover damage due to the flood in the basement suite, but not the cost of dealing with the problem, Richard said.

Future costs could be up to $20,000, Stephanie said.

“As it stands, our pipes remain clogged with tree roots,” she said.

Frustration evident, Stephanie said the couple has repeatedly asked the Township to remove the tree and deal with the issue and haven’t seen much in the way of response.

“What else do you need to do to get you to remove the tree? Please tell us,” Stephanie said.

The couple also wants to talk to the Township about “financial reparations” after the tree is removed.

“We’ll have a little bit more, I guess, clarity and information about what steps need to be taken to fix the damage on our property going forward,” Stephanie said.

Until they know that, it’s hard to know what they’re going to ask the Township for in the future.

Mayor Jack Froese mentioned that there is a process surrounding damage to personal property related to Township assets.

Froese said the council will look at the issue and expects a decision at a near-future meeting.

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