DNR begins investigation into claims of raw sewage in local trailer park
By: CJ Cassidy
By: CJ Cassidy
BUTLER COUNTY, Mo. - If it smells like sewage and looks like sewage - then it might just be sewage, and some Southeast Missouri residents find themselves living in the middle of it all.
Imagine having your toilets stopped up for more than two weeks. That's what some Butler County residents say they're living with, after a problem with sewer lines in their trailer park.
But the stink's the least of the problem. Now, while the trailer park owner faces off with East Butler County Sewage District management, people who live there are caught in the crossfire. "I can't use my restroom, I can't use my bathtub, and I can't use my toilet. It's all up in my yard," Rebecca Cox says clutching her young child to her.
Cox worries sewage seeping into her home, and all around her trailer could make her babies sick. "It smells in there like it smells out here - about the same. It's pretty bad -pretty strong," she says.
The smell hangs thickly in the air at the Parkway Estates Trailer Park; almost as sickening as the thick sludge oozing out around most of the homes. "I'm worried about the people here getting sick," owner Carl Craft says. He claims the problem began when the East Butler County Sewage District right across the street, stopped pumping waste from its pit. "It starts backing into people's yards and commodes are not flushing, and smells are starting to go into their homes," he says.
But board members with the sewage district blame Craft. They say sewer pipes at the trailer park are old, broken and outdated, and call it Craft's responsibility to replace them, just as any other paying customer would on their own property.
The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regulates the sewer district and a representative visited the park Tuesday to take photographs.
After 18 days of putting up with the smell and the mess, people who live there pray for a change. "I own the trailer over here, and we can't move. It costs a lot of money," one man who lives on disability earnings says. "It's pretty difficult when you can't wash laundry or flush toilets or give baths. My sister comes and gets me, and we go to the East side to my sister's to wash laundry or give baths every night," Rebecca Cox says.
Residents say they've had similar problems on and off in the past four years. They are still paying their sewer bills however, and say it's unfair they're stuck in the middle of the mess.