Sewage problems plague Walker woman

WALKER, LA (WAFB) - A Walker woman has had quite a year.  She's had problems with her sewage three times, even having to renovate her home because of back flow.

City officials tell 9 News the problem is the way the sewage system was built.

"Take your sewage and grind it up and there's a piping system where it goes to the next house," said Alicia Cheplick. "Well, ours has malfunctioned three times."

Since August 2010, the grinder has been causing nasty problems.

"Sewage started coming up the toilets, through bathtub and couldn't stop it," she said.

In fact, so much flowed in, she ended up renovating her entire home.  Her hardwood flooring gone, carpet ripped up and drywall replaced.

Six months later, she says they were unable to flush their toilets - a pipe in the system was bent.  Then just this week, another incident.

"There was sewage water coming out the top again," she said

Fred Raiford, Chief of Staff with the city of Walker, says they've been out to fix the problems.

"We put in a brand-new piece of equipment, but things do break down sometimes," said Raiford.

But he says the subdivision's mismatched system is a problem because the homes were built by different contractors and much of the plumbing doesn't work together.

25 of the homes' grinders have been relocated.  Four more - including Cheplick's - have to be done.

"I would've thought with the problems we've been having they would have done ours first," said Cheplick.  "But apparently we were not a top priority."

She says it's become more of a problem now that she has an active child.

The plumbing in all the homes was approved by the parish under its old construction codes.  Raiford admits the city inherited the problem and is bringing things up to current code.

"Well absolutely," said Raiford.  "But we don't like to point the finger at nobody, but there's a problem."

City workers say they'll replace Cheplick's whole system on Tuesday.

She still wonders if things will be different this time.

"I don't know if this is going to fix it or we'll continue to have a problem," she said.

Cheplick says the other problem is if she wants to resell her house, she'll have to disclose that it was flooded with sewage.

We're told there are funds designated in the city's budget for next year to fix other problems with the sewage in that neighborhood.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.