MODESTO -- The Perko's Cafe on north McHenry Avenue in Modesto had to close its doors for two days in October, turning away nearly a thousand customers and losing about $7,000 in business after its drains backed up.
The restaurant spent more than $22,000 to fix the problem. The repairs included having two plumbers clear the drains, which backed up again, and then having a contractor tear up the street to check the connection between the restaurant's sewer line and the city's sewer main.
The contractor determined the city is at fault because the city or a contractor, whose work would be inspected by the city, used the wrong coupling to connect the sewer line to the sewer main, said Perko's owner Jeff Burns.
The coupling kinked and caused the sewer line to back up, Burns said.
He filed a $22,292.25 claim against Modesto on Nov. 21 for the repair costs. He is not asking for the roughly $7,000 in lost business when the restaurant was closed Oct. 27-28.
"This is the first time we've had a problem of this magnitude with the sewer and our drains," said Burns, who has owned the north McHenry Perko's for 24 years.
He said his customers didn't take the closure lightly.
"They were upset," Burns said.
City spokeswoman Jessica Smart said in an e-mail: "As this claim has just recently been submitted and is in the claims process, we will not be commenting specifically to this incident.
"However, I can tell you that in general, each business is connected individually to our sewer system and that the connection into the sewer main
to their property is the business's responsibility."
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2316