National News

Residents fear sewage spills as Tropical Storm Nate nears

Posted October 7

— With Tropical Storm Nate headed toward metro Atlanta, many people living in DeKalb County are already anticipating more sewer spills in their neighborhood.

There has already been 150 spills caused by rain seeping into the sewer lines this year.

DeKalb County resident Franklin Jackson said he keeps a close eye on his grandchildren while they play in the backyard at his Melanie Court home.

In the past, his home has been plagued by storm related sewage spills.

"Anytime we get at least two inches of rain or more it floods this sewer drain down here and water just shoots up four or five feet in the air, and most of that is sewage," said Jackson.

Sewer spills are up more than 50 percent this year in DeKalb, and bad weather is to blame.

Tropical Storm Irma battered the county September 11 and was the culprit behind nine sewer spills caused by loss of power at some pump stations. In anticipation of Tropical Storm Nate, crews are ensuring generators are filled and in proper working order.

Lemonya Fagan also lives on Melanie Court and said mother nature is not the only one at fault. She claims the county hasn't made permanent repairs to the sewer line.

"I just think the county is putting a band aid on it," she said.

The mother of six said her children are not allowed to play in the backyard often because of the sewage spills.

"There are bugs back there, there is tissue coming up out of the sewage," said Fagan. "It's very disgusting."

Back at Franklin's home, he has begun to pick up items in the basement just in case it floods, and he's not taking any chances with his grandchildren.

"Our kids they don't play in the back," he said. "They play out here in the circle. I don't allow them in the backyard at all."

In 2015, DeKalb County performed testing, evaluation and repairs of the sewer lines on Melanie Court as well as replaced manhole covers.

County spokesperson Andrew Cauthen said there has only been one major storm-related sewer spill this year. It occurred on Melanie Court and resulted in 36,000 gallons of sewage.

"All spills were self-reported to the Georgia Environmental Protection Division," said Cauthen. "Melanie Court is in a priority area that has been assessed and will be scheduled for repairs or maintenance."

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