Family’s sewage woes said ‘act of God’

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 25, 2003

A Dallas County family is still waiting for a resolution to their long-running problems with sewage.

Since the problem began, Gregory and Betty Simpson, who live on County Road 943, have had little peace of mind.

Simpson said a steady trickle of experts of one type or another looked at the problem last week, but without results. He said officials from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, the Dallas County Water, Sewer and Fire Protection Authority, and a Texas wastewater management company head have shown up at their doorstep.

But thus far, none of them has been able to offer a solution.

According to one employee of the Dallas County Water Board &045;&045;- who did not wish to be named &045;&045;- the problem involves a breaker on one of the sewage pumps.

Because the area where the Simpsons live sits in a low-lying area, sewage must be pumped out of the lines on County Road 943. If not, it backs into the drains of homeowners on the street.

As the Simpsons occupy the last house on the street, the sewage backs into their home, unless they remove the caps on sewage lines in their front yard. Removing the caps has proven to be a less-than-perfect solution, however. When they are removed, the viscous liquid fills the Simpsons’ front yard and runs out into the streets.

The water board employee said that whenever a storm hits Selma, the breaker is blown and unless it’s reset the pump has no power. When that occurs, the Simpsons find themselves with a yard or home filled with raw human waste.

The water board held a meeting with ADEM officials concerning the problem on Tuesday.

The water board employee said there was nothing the board could do about the problem, calling it &uot;an act of God.&uot;

That’s scant comfort for the Simpsons, who say the scent of raw sewage pervades their lives. Gregory Simpson said he believes the material has gotten under the flooring in his home, adding, &uot;We’re just sucking it up like the pump should be doing.&uot;

Simpson said he has little hope the problem will be solved any time soon. &uot;They working real slow at it,&uot; he said. &uot;They done put our high hopes up and they done fell down. It’s been like a roller coaster ride.&uot;

Simpson said he’s trying to find a new home, but doesn’t know where yet. &uot;Anywhere but Selma,&uot; he said. &uot;We don’t even stick together as neighbors in Selma.&uot;

Chairman of the Water Board Joe Thomas said on Tuesday, &uot;They’re supposed to working on that today.&uot;

He had recently returned from the hospital and was unable to comment on the situation. He did say vice chairman James Hale was meeting with ADEM and would contact him as soon as a decision was reached.

The Selma Times-Journal called Hale several times last week, but received no response.

The water board is waiting on a letter from ADEM for a solution.

Until then, the Simpsons will just have to hope it doesn’t storm soon.