50,000 gallons of raw sewage spills into DeKalb County creek - CBS46 News

50,000 gallons of raw sewage spills into DeKalb County creek

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Raw sewage floods basement of Decatur home on Superior Avenue. Raw sewage floods basement of Decatur home on Superior Avenue.
DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Frustrated residents in one Decatur neighborhood said more than 50,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled into Glenn Creek last weekend. DeKalb County officials confirm it is just one of dozens of spills that have occurred in the area.

"It's overwhelming," said Eddie Rattananaek, as he walked through his basement filled with raw sewage. "I mean, it's sewage. You can't smell sewage and say ooh it smells good."

"Oh, that's nothing," said Judith Lomas, who has lived in the area along Superior Avenue for 13 years. "In February of 2010, 479,000 gallons of sewage went directly into the creek."

Lomas said neighbors have worked for years to get the county to replace a sewer pipe that is more than a century old.

"We have a creek here that goes out to the Chattahoochee and so it's bringing that sewage all through many neighborhoods along the way," said resident Megan Sexton. "It's upsetting."

The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered DeKalb County to make $1.3 billion in water and sewer upgrades. Work has begun but county officials say it is overwhelming.

"Water and sewer has been neglected over the years," said county spokesman Burke Brennan. "But we've taken steps to correct this. We've identified our top projects, our top priorities. This is certainly one of those."

Brennan said the county faces environmental fines for the weekend spill but they cannot be avoided until the upgrades are made. He said a contractor has been hired and crews should have the new sewer line in place within six months.

After complaining for years, some residents said they are skeptical.

"It's spring-fed and it goes all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and we have been pouring human sewage directly into it for probably 50 years," Lomas said.

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