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Sewage line not tied into correct spot costs homeowner thousands

2 weeks 8 hours 10 minutes ago Thursday, April 01 2021 Apr 1, 2021 April 01, 2021 6:28 PM April 01, 2021 in News
Source: WBRZ

DENHAM SPRINGS - A sewage situation has been solved, but the bubbling mess left a man with nowhere else to turn except 2 On Your Side.

Michael Fontenot has been dealing with a sewage problem since 2019. It wasn't until this week that it was clear the problem wasn't his after all.

"It's an environmental hazard," Fontenot said.

For the last couple of years, Fontenot has been living the same nightmare over and over again. He says the city of Denham Springs has been to his home five times to tear up his front yard and get a closer look.

He first learned about an issue in 2019, when the toilets in his house started backing up and bubbling over onto his floor. Fontenot had to rip out his floors and file an insurance claim to have them repaired.

"It's the only house in this subdivision that was having issues," he said.

When the city came out the first time, Fontenot says he was told the pumps were down and the sewage line was cleared. But the frustration didn't end. Fontenot says he's had sewage bubble up out of his toilets and onto his floors at least three times.

"I'd been told it was on my end," he said.

Fontenot says the city came out a few times after that, and each time he was told the problem was on his end.

In addition to the insurance claim, Fontenot says he has shelled about $6,000 to make repairs at his house, including digging up and replacing a pipe on his property. He learned this week those were repairs he didn't need to do.

He says the sewage starting backing up again on Tuesday. The city came out to dig up his yard and take a look at the pipes, and an obstruction was blown out with a hose. Wednesday, the lines were further investigated with a camera, and that's when Fontenot learned his sewage line was tied into the storm drain. All this time, his sewer has been draining to the wrong place.

"My sewage from my house was draining into the water drains. It was tied into the water drains so it wasn't tied into the sewage main," Fontenot said.

The city says this happened when the home was first built, decades ago. Wednesday, a new sewer tap was put in and the existing line was tied into that.

"It was making my house smell like sewage. I mean, our clothes were smelling like raw sewage after we washed them," Fontenot said.

Now that the issue has been fixed, Fontenot is looking to recoup some of the money he says he shouldn't have spent. He's hoping the city of Denham Springs does right by him and reimburses him for his troubles.

Mayor Gerard Landry tells 2 On Your Side that he's received information and photos from Fontenot and those have been sent to the city's legal team and insurance providers to see if they can help.

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