Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Storms Leave Area Residents Flooded With Sewage

Sewage backup onto property near Funkhouser Park.
Photo courtesy M Todd Roberts
HAGERSTOWN, MD - Local storms have left area residents flooded, and in some cases, caused sewage backups to overflow onto residents' property.

Residents of homes near Funkhouser Park, which is the home of the Hagerstown Pony League, complained of sewage in their yards after storms went through our area on Tuesday.

"The same thing happened in 2006 or 2007. This is the effects of poor infrastructure and rapid growth in the North end. This did not happen with hurricane Agnes in 1972 but start after Lowes and Weis was built." stated one area resident, M Todd Roberts.
Cleanup of sewage backup near Funkhouser Park.
Photo courtesy of M Todd Roberts

Officials informed Mr. Roberts that the sewer line in question is the main line that carries all sewage from the north end from State Line, to the treatment plant.

Mr. Roberts further stated that "My opinion is that it's going to get worse especially with the retail / commercial zoning that the county commissioners approved at Marsh and Leitersburg Pikes." He also expressed concern that the Crampton's development in the north end will burden this particular sewer line much more.

The sewage backup created a serious health hazard, which some residents were not immediately aware of, according to a post by Mr. Roberts on social media. "Kids were playing in the water last night until my son told the adults watching that there [was sewage] in the water."

Local area resident Susan Hammer responded with great concern, stating " playing in the water?! They need tetanus shots immediately. ... go to the Washington County Health Dept. on Pennsylvania Ave just north of North High School. And please - don't just pass this to your neighbor - and don't assume that bacteria is not coming into your yard. Everybody you can get to call the Health Dept should. There is power in numbers of people."

Susan also contacted several local officials about the situation, and was very discouraged by the response. "Given the responses so far, it may take demonstrations to change things unfortunately." Susan continued with "I don't even have any water problems - just feel really sorry for [those affected] and am enraged about the city and county's inability to act."

The city did take some measures to cleanup the sewage overflow. As part of the sewage cleanup, the city put down lime to keep away maggots and flies.

Other residents complained of unheard-of flooding issues as well.

Basement Flooding
Photo courtesy of Rocky Rine
"We have a mess in our basement family room ... First water problem in the basement in 17 years." said resident Rocky Rine.

Any Hagerstown residents affected by sewer backups should contact the City of Hagerstown at 301-739-8577 ext. 311.

For those who may have been exposed to sewage, information about the Health Department's immunization program can be found at their website.

Ken Buckler is the editor of the WashCo Chronicle