"I can hardly sleep with the awful smell"

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There was a burst pipe on Saturday night at Ulrich Siegenthaler's in Muolen SG. This wasn't the first time. The municipality was aware of the risk.

"It is unbelievable what was destroyed", says 66-year-old Ulrich Siegenthaler. On Saturday night a water pipe burst in front of his house in Muolen SG. Around 170,000 litres of water flowed into the ground floor of the residential building within two hours.

The 66-year-old was awakened by the sound of gushing water, writes the "St. Galler Tagblatt" daily newspaper. "It was not a pleasant awakening. You don't know what you should do. You are simply powerless against these masses of water", he tells 20 Minuten.

250 bottles of wine destroyed

In addition to the wellness area, furniture and a piano, the wine collection was not spared from the masses of water. According to Siegenthaler, around 250 bottles were destroyed. "The wine is mainly Amarone, a typically rich dry Italian red wine, and it doesn't come cheap."

But it is not the water that is the biggest problem. The mud which was unleashed with the water was much worse. "I have been told that it will take up to two months until everything is cleaned and disinfected", says the 66-year-old. The now dry mud must be scraped off, which is a tedious task. "Due to the mud there is an awful smell in the air, to the extent that one can hardly sleep in the house." The entire damage is over 100,000 francs.

Pressure increased by three bar

It is not the first time that Siegenthaler has become a victim of a burst pipe. As the "Tagblatt" reports, the Muolen water cooperation is to blame for the burst pipe. It increased the water pressure by around three bar as houses located higher up in Muolen had problems with the water supply. "At the lowest house the pressure was increased to eight bar, and to six bar at the highest house", explains Beat Eigenmann, President of the Muolen water cooperation.

The accompanying risk for the old water pipes is known. "It was only a matter of time before one of the old pipes burst", adds Eigenmann. Most pipes are from the 1970s and 1980s. Siegenthaler is very annoyed, he didn't realise this: "Everyone knew about the ticking time bomb, except me."

The broken pipe was uncovered on Monday. The pipe is now being replaced. According to Eigenmann, there are people involved in upgrading the water network. The municipality will assume the costs for the new pipe. But Siegenthaler himself must pay for the damage in the building, adds Eigenmann. Siegenthaler has already informed his insurance company. But it is still not clear whether they will assume the costs for damages.

20minuten, "I can hardly sleep with the awful smell": https://www.20min.ch/schweiz/ostschweiz/story/-Dass-die-Zeitbombe-tickt-wussten-alle--ausser-ich--13353351, retrieved on 09.10.2019.

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