Baton Rouge woman blames city for sewer problems

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One Baton Rouge homeowner said for 22 years her home was flooded with raw sewage.

She claims the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Government owes tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and sewer fees.

Deborah Conerly said when she bought her house 22 years ago it was everything she had ever dreamed. Two years later she noticed something was wrong.

"I was devastated. I was hurt," Conerly said.

Conerly said her backyard turned into a lake after a hard rain.

"When it rained my yard would literally flood with water. You couldn't come back here."

It didn't stop there. Conerly said signs of trouble started popping up inside her house.

"The commodes overflowed, backed up in the house, and if I dare to wash clothes the same would happen with the washing machine."

The years of repeated floods have left a nasty mark. Mold grew on her walls and eventually rotted through her sheet rock. She's had to replace her floors twice.

Conerly said she contacted the East Baton Rouge Department of Public Works so many times she has lost count.

"Each time the results would be this is not our problem because everything is working fine out there."

Conerly said she became so frustrated she hired a plumber and another.

"Through the years I would say I spent between $15,000 and $20,000 (on plumbers)."

Conerly said she went as far as having all of her pipes replaced, but the mess kept creeping up.

"It was getting worse to where I would have backups once a month."

When the DPW went to check the line, workers realized the house was not connected.

"When Pat LeSalle, the claims adjuster for the city, came here he said "Hey we are not connected. Hey I tell you what I've got to get somebody over here quick."

She said DPW installed a connecting pipe almost immediately. But after decades of paying plumbers and a sewer fee for a service Conerly said she never had she wants the city to reimburse her.

"I would like to have my money back. Those services were never rendered to me. It's unfair, unjust."

Conerly filed a claim with FARA, the insurance company for the city-parish. But they denied it stating home owners are responsible for connecting to public sewer lines.

Conerly disagrees. She said her fight is far from over.

DPW director, David Guillory, said the city-parish is only responsible for providing a connection and making sure it is clear. He added his department did everything it could to make sure that was the case.

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