Howe residents displaced after city sewage backed up into their homes

By: Allison Harris Email
By: Allison Harris Email

HOWE, TEXAS -- Imagine coming home for the day, only to find sewage covering your floors.

That's what happened to a Howe neighborhood, after the city's sewage collection system failed and backed up into their homes.

"The smell. Everything in my home has to be cleaned," Howe resident Jan Posey said.

Posey's house is filled with sewage. She's been forced to spend the holidays at a Sherman hotel until her home is clean.

"Put my furniture up on blocks, then ripping up carpet, moving TVs. It was unbelievable. I've never been through anything like this," Posey said.

The mess started Saturday when the city of Howe's sewage collection system failed and overflowed into homes off Farmington road. Mayor Jeff Stanley is looking for a solution.

"We're gonna do this quick fix to it, but this isn't a long term fix," Stanley said.

City Engineer Bob Helmberger says it wasn't until Monday morning that he was informed of the problem.

"These things occassionally do clog," Helmberger said.

Helmberger explained that the city uses a gravity system, in which sewage flows from the homes, into this lift station and onto the treatment plant.

City officials say this lift station is old and doesn't have a grinder, which is why they say it got clogged and then backed up into nearby homes.

Tricia Warren is sharing a hotel room with her neighbor Jan.

For Warren, it's a recurring nightmare, as the same sewage overflow happened two years ago costing her thousands of dollars.

"Buying new furniture, replacing everything, being displaced from our house, having to stay in a hotel," Warren said.

Meantime, city workers are adjusting the system temporarily so that backed up sewage will stay out of the homes and instead flow into backyards.

"If it would've just been taken care of the first time, it wouldn't have happened. They've already told us it's just a matter of time before it will happen again," Warren said.

"The city needs to pull together and just fix it," Posey said.

Stanley says the city's Insurance does not cover any damages to residents homes.

He says city leaders will meet on January 7th to discuss a permanent fix to the sewage problems.

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