Harrisville residents want sewage backups problem fixed

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 3 2011 2:21 p.m. MDT

Harrisville resident Judy Lemmon woke up Monday morning to find several inches of sewage flowing inside her basement.

Winston Armani, Deseret News

HARRISVILLE, Weber County — Several homeowners in Harrisville woke up to a nasty mess earlier this week, as raw sewage flowed into their basements.

Now many of them are frustrated at city leaders who are telling them the problem is out of their control. But both the county and the city governments are blaming the flooded residents' neighbors upstream.

Harrisville resident Judy Lemmon said as the rains came down Monday morning her basement floor drains started overflowing with sewage.

"It was thick, muddy poop," she said. "You know, it was sewer. The whole house smells terrible from it."

She said she had about 3 inches of sewage in her home. This is the second time this has happened to her. Last time, she had 3 feet of sewage in her home and lost about $50,000 in antiques.

Several of her neighbors near 200 W. Independence Blvd. (1275 North) discovered the same thing. "We were left with just sludge mess," Brandy Seat said.

They’ve asked Harrisville to fix the problem so it won't happen again, but city leaders say it's not their fault. Even if it was, they said they couldn't do anything if they wanted to.

"The sewer system that backed up is Central Weber Sewer District main line," explained Bill Morris, Harrisville's city administrator.

Administrators said the problem was too many homeowners sent their floodwaters to the wrong place: down their sewage line. If they would just send them down the storm drain instead, it would just end up in a retention pond.

Morris said the only thing Harrisville could do is ask people to stop it. "We're encouraging people who are illegally hooked into the sewer line, please disconnect, tie into the storm drain line and separate those two systems."

The Central Weber Sewer District contacted its insurance company, which will review whether affected homeowners will get any compensation.

Lemmon said that provided very little comfort. She said the city should fix its line so it won't get overwhelmed with county sewage.

"They told us that it wasn't their problem, but it ruined everything in our basement," she said.

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