Contact 9: Density Utilities hangs residents out to dry - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Contact 9: Density Utilities hangs residents out to dry

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Geraldine Williams points out raw sewage in her yard. Geraldine Williams points out raw sewage in her yard.
ASSUMPTION PARISH, LA (WAFB) -

Homeowners battling a nasty sewage problem in Assumption Parish claim they are being hung out to dry.

The company in charge filed for bankruptcy, and the parish told 9News the governor's office won't help.

"Every time it rains you're on pins and needles," Dorris Wiggins said.

"We've been having this for about three months," said Geraldine Williams.

"I think it's an injustice to us as Americans and as citizens of this state. It's just wrong," Liz Dorsey said.

It's a problem homeowners in Plattenville can't stop talking about.

"Sewage coming up, houses flooded, and this is really filthy germs. We got to go to the store, get all kinds of disinfectant and I think this is ridiculous," Williams said.

Williams and her neighbors blame Density Utilities, the company that until recently had been maintaining their sewer system. Overgrown shrubs and rust have taken over a nearby lift station. Another station on the same street appears to be inoperable.

Dorsey said every time it rains her toilet and bathtub back up. She's got the pictures to show the damage she said the sewer problem has done to her kitchen, bedroom, hallways and dining room

"The next step was to mop and mop and mop until you get the scent out," Dorsey explained.

Wiggins and her neighbors said they've tried everything.

"We did so much mopping. We had to buy all sorts of disinfectant," Wiggins said.

"I was buying too much of the drain openers and it wasn't working," Katherine Thompson said.

Residents' biggest frustration is they are still footing a full utility bill.

"We pay $40 a month. Where is the money going?  We have no service. We don't have no service here," said Williams.

Assumption Parish President Marty Triche said Density has failed to maintain its pumping stations in every one of the eight to ten subdivisions it services in the parish.

"Assumption Waterworks basically is only acting as a collection agency as a public utility. The money is then remitted to density, regulated by the Public Service Commission," Triche said.

"Where is the money going now that Density is bankrupt?" asked WAFB's Cheryl Mercedes. "Well, I don't know. That's all in the legal system," Triche responded.

Shortly after Density filed for bankruptcy in March, Parish Secretary-Treasurer Kim Torres sent a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal describing the situation, urging him to declare a public health state of emergency immediately. Triche says the governor's homeland security director, Kevin Davis, told him the state could not help.

"Their indication is that it's not their role, not their function and not their responsibility. We think otherwise," Triche said.

So do residents who are living the reality every day.

"It's our health. We are human beings. Hey," Williams said.

"Well, all I can say is, God help us," Thompson said.

Kevin Davis' office released the following statement:

Several state agencies are investigating the company at the center of the problem.

The state wants to help in the community clean this mess up.

Different enforcement methods can be used.  The state is considering the best legal approach.

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