Sewer overflows after work begins to help fix the problem

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – “It smells like you stuck your head down into the sewer drain right there,” North 27th Street resident Dustin Morris said two years ago. “That’s what it smells like. It’s disgusting.”

Morris described the scene as Lafayette crews worked to clean the sewage-covered North 27th Street in August of 2012.

A major rain event flooded the street and brought raw sewage up into neighbors’ yards. For two years something as bad as that did not happen until July 14.

“I was at the store and it started raining,” Morris said. “When I got back (the water) was probably up to the middle of my car tires. I came home and sat here on my front porch and just watched the sewage rise.”

What has happened in between the two flooding events is what is making Morris even more frustrated.

The city started a two phase project at the end of last year, wrapping up the first phase this spring to help the flooding on North 27th.

“(It) supposedly fixed it,” Morris said. “It really didn’t.”

“What we’ve done so far is replace the sewer that was laid at wrong elevations, wrong grades, and we increased the size of it to help get the water away from the streets out of this combined system,” Lafayette Water Pollution Control director Brad Talley said.

The city believes the problems on North 27th Street will be further alleviated by a project coming to Elmwood Avenue.

“We’ll take a sewer and run it on Elmwood to 18th and Erie,” Talley said.

Talley believes adding more drainage options in the area will be an answer to the sewer problem.

“This is America, it shouldn’t be happening, you know what I’m saying,” Morris said.

Talley said construction on Elmwood Avenue will start sometime at the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.

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