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Robinson homeowners deal with sewage coming up drains

Posted at 7:49 PM, May 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 09:27:47-04

ROBINSON, TX — All this rain has some homeowners in Robinson worrying about more than flooding.

The homes on Karnes Drive have been around for a few decades and old clay pipes are causing sewage to overflow inside of them nearly every time there's a heavy rain.

Last Thursday, Carole Fergusson and her husband had to scoop sludge and brown water out of their tub and flush it down the toilet. This is something they've done nearly half a dozen times over the last few months.

"It was just disgusting," Fergusson said. "It was literally gushing in like a geyser, just coming in and overflowing."

Fergusson has a two-year-old daughter. She's worried about how this water could affect her health.

"I don't even want to shower in my home. I hate that," said Fergusson. "We've scrubbed it with hospital grade cleaners, we've done everything we can. I just feel like it's really gross."

Fergusson isn't the only neighbor dealing with this issue.

Patricia Jimenez has lived on Karnes Drive for 24 years. She said sewage has come up in her home at least 20 times.

"You feel like you clean and you still have to go over it and go over it and sanitize it because it's the all the backage from the entire neighborhood," Jimenez said.

Jimenez said her husband has brought the problem to the City of Robinson's attention many times.

"We've been trying to get them to do something about it for years and they have never done anything," Jimenez said.

Fergusson has brought her frustrations to the city as well.

"I actually went to the city council meeting last night," Fergusson said. "During the break, I asked 'who else has sewage backing up into their house' and about five or six people turned around and said they've been having this happen for years."

On Monday, the City of Robinson installed a check valve in Fergusson's front yard. She said it's meant to push sewage away from her home and toward the street.

"It's more like a band-aid to the issue," Fergusson said. "It makes me really upset with the city. This entire neighborhood is really struggling."

Robinson City Manager Craig Lemin said a solution to the problem will come in the next two to three weeks.

"The problems are caused by rainwater entering the system through the older clay sewer pipes," Lemin said. "The city has been working for several months to identify the specific problems and design the replacement of the problematic sections along Karnes, Betsy and Billington."

Lemin said they've hired a company to replace 2,870 linear feet of line using the pipe bursting method of line replacement. The clay pipes will be replaced with more durable poly-plastic pipes.

"The city has just this week completed the process of acquiring rights of entry from the affected property owners so the contractor can enter their yards and connect them to the new line as it's installed," Lemin said.

Lemin said the cost of the proposed project is $289,383, approximately $101 per linear foot.

Fergusson said she doesn't regret moving to Robinson. She just wants to keep the wastewater down for good.

"I love our house, it's our first home as a married couple," Fergusson said. "I just hope that this will actually be resolved and we don't have to keep whining about it."

Fergusson has also filed a complaint with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality about the issue.