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Family's Basement Flooded With 5 Inches Of Blood From Next Door

Many of us have been unlucky enough to have a drain back-up into our basement. If we're lucky, it's just rainwater in the wrong place, but if we're unlucky, it's used toilet water.

Until I heard this story, I thought a basement full of poop water was the worst thing that could happen. I was wrong.

Please note that the images in this article aren't for the squeamish.

The Lestina family had been living in their home for 10 years and were in the process of putting it up for sale.


But that's going to have to wait after Nick Lestina stopped at home on October 3 to pick up a power drill and found the sump pump pouring out a red liquid.

Further investigation revealed that his basement was flooded with five inches of animal blood, tissue, and fat.


"Some things you just think you'll never see," he said

Its source? The meat locker next door.

There had never been any previous issues with Dahl's Meat Locker, but the home shares some sewer connections with the business.

Local 5

It turned out that the meat locker had been disposing of some of its animal waste via a drain in the floor. When the pipes clogged, it came right back up into the Lestina's basement.

Nick immediately contacted the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), who began an investigation and clean-up.

Local 5

Keith Wilken, the Iowa DNR's senior environment specialist said, "It smelled like a meat processing facility when I entered the house."

Two weeks later, and there is still some blood seeping up into the basement.


The family of seven has needed to find somewhere else to stay, due to the mess being a biohazard. Until the blockage is found and fixed, clean-up of the basement can't start.

Meanwhile, Dahl's Meat Locker has only been sort of cooperative.

Local 5

They have ceased meatpacking operations and installed a disposal system that meets state standards. However, they say that they have passed all previous inspections and were never informed their practice was wrong.

The Dahls took over the business from the former owners in April after working there for several years.


They say that nothing has changed in their practices since taking ownership and they didn't do anything wrong.

While most of the waste is collected for disposal elsewhere, it's normal for some blood to splash onto the floor and wash down the drain.

Which is logical, but doesn't explain the chunks of fat and tissue.


Dahl's statements don't mention that part.

"We’re taking responsibility for it even though it wasn’t our fault," said co-owner Kaitlin Dahl.

However, according to Nick Lestina, the company has been iffy about helping with the damages to the home.

Local 5

"They say it’s not their fault and told me 'good luck'," he told KTIV, "If I want to do anything about it, it’s on my dime and my schedule."

But after the local news shared this story, the company has come forward with offers of aid.


So far, Lestina has quotes for $2000 to clean and sanitize the house plus another $2,300 for a new sump pump and water heater. Though the pump was new, it's now gummed up with animal fat.

They still don't know how long it'll be before the blood stops coming up the drain.


Thankfully, the basement was unfinished and mostly used for storage. The biggest loss was toddler beds that were waiting to be handed down to the younger children.

I can only imagine the work required to make the space considered safe for human habitation again.


Not to mention how difficult it may now be for the Lestinas to sell their home after the clean-up. Even if it's done perfectly, potential buyers may be worried about something similar happening again.

h/t: KTIV, Local 5, Des Moines Register

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