Ima Bennett was doing laundry one evening when she noticed water pooling around the basement toilet. She pulled out the Shop-Vac and called a plumber while rain poured outside.
It was no leak. By the time the plumber began an inspection, dark-brown water erupted from the toilet and sink and spewed from a pipe in the wall. Overloaded sewer pipes were sending human waste into the home and two others next door in Bennett's Belvedere neighborhood of North Baltimore.
"It was just gushing out," she said.
The muck that came with that February rainfall filled the basement 2 feet high, destroying the water heater and an air purifier, and soiling a wheelchair and a...