Homeowners in Riverview, N.B., woke up to find their basements knee deep in sewage Wednesday morning due to a water main break.

Resident Chantal Bourque says storm water and sewage was coming from everywhere.

“Everything just started coming out of the floor,” says Bourque. “It was just crazy.”

Bourque was alerted to the problem by a tenant living in the basement. She went to look and found more than a half metre of water and sewage.

“We were lucky. We live on the upper floor. There's a tenant that lives downstairs, he lost pretty much everything,” she says.

Nathan Orr with Public Works says it is uncommon for water to back up like it did. He says the break was over a sanitary sewer, and when the water was released it overwhelmed the system, forcing it to flow back up into nearby homes.

Stephanie Hansen's family room is a write off.

“The floors, the walls, the baseboard, we have to replace our furniture, our kids' toys that have been lost,” she says.

Hansen says even more could be lost, as some areas of the home haven't yet been inspected.

“Right now we do have our storage room in the back, so it's undetermined what is damaged back there because we haven't got into look through the boxes yet,” she says.

Seventeen homes were damaged to some degree.

Harold Fisher has been hired to help with the cleanup. He says at some homes, almost everything has to go.

“One particular house, pretty much everything in the basement. This is probably the worst one I've seen,” says Fisher.

Town officials say they deal with about 30 burst pipes a year. They say some are old, while others are weakened by the freeze and thaw cycles.

For the residents, it will take days or even weeks to clean up enough to make their homes safe to live in once again.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.