Local News

Sewage Makes Its Way Into Sanford House, Leaves Family Homeless

Posted August 13, 2003 5:28 a.m. EDT
Updated June 11, 2008 5:01 p.m. EDT

— Flooding can be devestating even if the washout has nothing to do with water. For a family in Sanford, human waste surged its way into the family's home.

The Harrison family said Friday's heavy rains flooded the sewer line, literally blowing a manhole sending sewage across their yard and into the family's home, making it uninhabitable.

"It was coming through the walls and shooting the room. It was up about my waist, about 3 or 4 feet high. It was all sewage," homeowner Dick Harrison said.

City inspectors said the house is unsafe until it can be properly sterilized.

"I have a lot of stuff and we have nowhere to go. We are homeless," homeowner Kathy Harrison said. "We need help. Someone needs to step up to the plate and the city won't do it."

Sanford leaders said the problem is storm drainage and the city is not responsible, yet they admit to having sewage spills in the past.

"The systems are old and they leak sometimes, but no system can withstand heavy rains. A spill will happen even with a system that is brand-new," public works director Larry Thomas said.

The State Department of Environmental Health and Natural Resources (DENR) fined Sanford more than $18,000 in November for having chronic problems with sewage spills. Since 1999, DENR says Sanford has reported more than 2 million gallons of sewage spilled. State inspectors plan to visit the Harrison home next week.