Sewage causing problems for Selma residents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Once most people flush the toilet, they expect it to go away, but Virginia Harrison has had to live with waste.

Harrison, 80, lives in one of two houses on J.R. Carter Circle, just across the tracks from the Vasser’s Mini Mart.

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Harrison said raw sewage bubbles up into a ditch next to her yard.

“I’m not trying to be ugly,” Harrison said Tuesday evening.

The water had drained, but bits of toilet paper and ashy matter sat in the ditch. A distinctive odor rose up from it.

“But yesterday that ditch was full of water. I’ve worked as a practical nurse. You can get staph infection, and diphtheria. And when the water sits for a while, you get mosquitoes,” she said.

Harrison has grandchildren who come to visit, including a grandson she described as delicate. “He gets sick easily,” Harrison said.

Harrison contacted the city’s public works and Selma City Council member Cecil Williamson about the sewage. Harrison had the same problem last year. She said after calling the city, someone came to clear out the ditches in her yard and her neighbors’ yards.

The problem went away &8212; for a while.

Now the overflowing sewage is back. Harrison said Williamson came out Tuesday to take a look at the ditch, and she waits to see what will happen next.

Myra Waddell, whose daughter lives next door to Harrison, said the city had come out before, and her family had not seen much of a problem until yesterday, when Waddell said the ditch filled up. The black odiferous sludge was even with the street.

“I’m not really sure where the problem is coming from, but I will say the city came out promptly and fixed things when they were wrong,” Waddell said.

Calls to Henry Hicks, the city’s public works director weren’t returned Tuesday.

Harrison believes the problem is bigger than the ditch.

“I don’t use that much water,” she said. “I just wash a few dishes, little stuff here and there.”

But Harrison remains puzzled about why the sewage keeps bubbling up.

Cecil Williamson said will put in a request to the mayor first thing Wednesday.

“It looks like a broken pipe or something,” Williamson said. “Obviously there is sewage, and that is a health hazard. We definitely want to take care of that.”