Damage to The First Baptist Church in Steinbach after a sewer backup has left the pastor and congregation in a tough spot.

Last Wednesday evening, the pastor of the Loewen Boulevard church, David Miller says he and several congregants were in the building for their usual bible study, prayer and reading and “Everything was fine.”  

The next morning Miller was called back to the church because he had been notified by someone who was repairing the church's backdoor, “That there was an awful smell in the basement.”  

He continues, “So, when I got here, yes, there was an awful smell in the basement, and there had probably been about 2 inches of sewer backup over the whole entire basement floor which most of it has been carpeted. So, all of that carpet had to be removed.”  

Miller says everything from the basement needed to be removed. “So, that was just kind of overwhelming. Where do we start? Who do we get to help? We've got a small church. Many are disabled and not able to do anything. So actually, one of the churches down the road did help out and they came that evening. I had some relatives that came and by 9:30 PM we had everything out of the basement that needed to go.” 

Miller says there had been significant rainfall early Thursday morning and that he called the City of Steinbach office, “they offered the information to me that there had been a computer glitch in the sewage disposal in some form or another, and that he was just in the process of writing a report about it and because of that and the extra rainfall, it (the system) could not remove all the sewage and they're just backed up.” 

SteinbachOnline reached out to the City of Steinbach in regard to this matter. A spokesperson for the city says they are still investigating the issue and plan to respond once the investigation is complete.

The pastor describes what he saw and smelled when first walking into the church basement, “It was just honestly, overwhelming. You don't know where to start. You don't know what's happened. The floor was sopping wet. There was no standing water that I could see at the first part, but there was out in the main fellowship room, but you could see the whole floor was sopping wet and the smell was overwhelming.”  

Miller describes what they have done in the lower level so far, “Well, we removed all the chairs, equipment, tables and stuff that were down in the basement. Floodgates (Restoration) has command. They've removed the carpets, sprayed the floor and now the walls. The gyproc all has to be removed up two feet (from the floor) with all the insulation out, they have sprayed the studs and then that all has to be replaced. The floor, we don't know yet. We probably won't be putting carpet back down. We'll need to remove the glue and probably just paint the floor.” 

As to who will be paying for the cleanup, Miller says, “good question. The insurance company has told us that we (the church) do not have sewer backup coverage. The town so far has not agreed that they are responsible. Not enough to pay anything yet, anyway. So, I don't know.” 

Miller did get an estimate of $20,000 for replacing the carpet in the basement and for the rest of the cleanup and repairs could run closer to $40,000.  

Pastor Miller would like to pass along their thanks to everyone who has helped them so far.

Pastor David Miller in the basement of the First Baptist Church, SteinbachPastor David Miller in the basement of the First Baptist Church, Steinbach as clean-up has begun after city sewer backed into their church. 

“We sure are grateful for the friends and the people that did respond and help us out Thursday evening and for removing all that stuff. There is no way we could have done that on our own.”