Homes Flooded With Sewage

Created: 06/24/2014 11:13 PM
By: John Doetkott

(ABC 6 News) -- During last week's storms, many people across the area saw basements flooded with water, but an unlucky few in Albert Lea had their basements flooded with something else.

Now residents are now turning to the city for help.

"The water was up a little bit past the palm tree, and up to the rock, and all the way into the road," said Shane Trytten as he stood in his front yard, surveying where the flood waters had risen.

Trytten lives on Abbott Street, right up against Fountain Lake, where flooding is common.

But Trytten said it's not the lake water that's the problem.

"The sewer's overflowing, it's backing up into our basements,” Trytten said. “When the water level gets to a certain point, the sewers back up and you get a water flow of sewage coming out of your drain in your basement."

Trytten said one home got as much as four feet of water and sewage in their basement, and one family is even moving out because they said they've had enough of the tainted water.

It’s a problem no amount of sandbags can fix, and many of those staying put said something needs to be done soon.

"We just need to get it fixed is all there is to it. It’s not acceptable and we’re not going to live with it,” said Bob Arnold, who also had sewage backup into his home. “Nobody should have to live with sewage in their basement."

Like other places in town, city leaders have tried to mitigate the problem, but say there's simply not enough funding to remedy it completely.

"We’ve taken several steps, but unfortunately they're not enough, and there's not enough money to take care of all the steps we need to take,” said Vern Rasmussen, mayor of Albert Lea. “So we'll continue on the course to hopefully take care of these problems, but it is going to take time."

Residents said it’s become an on-going problem, but are remaining hopeful.

"They've known there's a problem. they've known it for ten years,” Arnold said. “I’ve talked to the city council and I feel that they are going to do the right thing."

Mayor Rasmussen said the city has installed pumps and improved the pipe system to increase capacity and get water moving out of problem areas faster.

The city engineer estimated between 30 and 40 homes were affected by sewage backup, although he didn't have an exact number on Tuesday afternoon.