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Sewage bubbling in front yard; homeowner wants responsible party to fix it

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- A Fort Wayne homeowner says he's had raw sewage bubbling into his front yard for about a month, and he wants whoever is responsible to fix it.

Cody Risher bought his home off Liberty Mills about three years ago.

He says about a month ago he started to mow his front yard and realized a patch of it was significantly taller than the rest.

"Found that it was puddled with water and couldn't mow it, and realized water was coming out of the ground pretty fast," Risher said

But he says when city crews inspected the storm drain, they said it wasn't water, it was sewage backing up.

"That's a mess I really wasn't prepared to hear," he said.

Risher says the city called Aqua Indiana crews to look at the issue.

"Aqua Indiana came and said they'll take care of it. So when I came home from school the next day, Aqua was here and said that it probably wasn't their lines leaking," Risher said.

The homeowner says now that it's been about four weeks with no real update from anyone about the situation, he's looking for help wherever he can.

Risher says he had a contractor empty and inspect his septic tank, who told him that wasn't the problem.

He then called the health department, which sampled the water that he says tested positive for E.coli.

"They sent me a letter that I'm assuming the whole neighborhood got as an order to connect to Aqua's sewage line," he said.

At a cost of $15-20,000 for each homeowner.

Risher says now that it's been about four weeks with no real update from anyone about the situation, he's looking for help wherever he can.

"Last week I made a Facebook post about it and tagged four or five different parties trying to see if I could get a response, but I still haven't heard from anyone," he said.

In the meantime, the sewage continues to flood his front yard with no end in sight.

"Deflating. It's pretty rough to try to handle trying to manage the house along with work and school all at the same time. And it doesn't seem like anybody's here to help me solve an issue that's not really mine to fix," Risher said.

He says he's ready to begin digging to lay his own tile if the problem isn't resolved soon.

A health department spokeswoman says crews found several septic systems in the area were in failure, and that most of the properties have old filter beds that are no longer legal.

She says because their lots are too small for necessary aborption field systems and an Aqua Indiana sewer is within 300 feet of each lot, homeowners are required to connect to it.

An Aqua America spokesman says the company will offer low-interest loans for homeowners to hook up and receive sewer service.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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