More than 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spills in DeKalb County - CBS46 News

More than 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spills in DeKalb County

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

For the first time in 39 years, it has been a bit chaotic outside Essie Rankins' home in Ellenwood.

“I’ve never seen so many DeKalb County cars or water management people on one street in my life,” Rankins said. “He said there was grease, and like clothing had gotten into the line. I said, 'What?' He said, 'Yeah.' I said, 'How did it do that?' He said, 'I don’t know.' He said, 'the only thing I know is it was there.'”

He has lived comfortably in this modest home on Boulder Hills Drive for nearly four decades and was shocked to learn that more than 37,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled from a county sewer line behind his home. 

After all, who wouldn’t be upset.          

"I was just sitting outside and I asked my grandma what’s that smell? She was like, I don’t know,” resident Correy Billings said.

“I think it’s awful, something needs to be done about it,” homeowner Pamela Brown said.

The county responded and began making repairs after people living on Boulder Run Road began complaining about a foul odor.  It turns out roots ruptured the line.

“Don’t nobody want to live here and smell the smell like that because it can cause health problems and if someone has asthma it can cause all kind of health problems,” Brown said.  

CBS46 has learned there have been more than 145 sewage spills in DeKalb County this year. Plus, the Environmental Protection Agency fined the county $294,000 for sewage spills, in part because they underreported 48 spills during the past five years.

As for Rankins, he thinks the whole thing stinks, but is glad the county is now taking action to correct the problem.

“I thank God for the county to have the facility that they have to get these things done when they need to get done,” Rankins said.

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