Raw Sewage, Raw Deal

It's a scenario no one would want to deal with. For months, a Columbia family says sewage has flooded their home. They also say calls to the City of Columbia to fix the problem only made things worse. The City says otherwise. It appears to be a case of "he said, she said," with plenty of questions.

The Columbia family is dealing with the mess everyday at a house on Lorick Avenue. Raw sewage and feces covers the basement.

"It's been over a month, and it's hell," said homeowner Wanda Smith-Jeter.

Smith-Jeter and her husband Jesse are disgusted by the stinky situation.

"The depths of evil is the only way I can explain the hell, that's trying to disguise itself as my life right now," said Smith-Jeter.

The American dream has turned into a nightmare for the family.

"That's the most that I can do to help myself is hold off showering and laundry, to minimize the number of days I'm cleaning up feces and sewage from my laundry room," said Smith-Jeter.

She says her family's life has been turned upside down since the sewer backup started in January. A temporary fix didn't last long as things once again spilled out into the house. She says a mistake by city workers caused the filth to creep into her home in the first place.

"After putting in a new cleanout and fixing their pipe, my pipe was left broken," said Smith-Jeter. "And the hole was left gaping open."

Columbia City Councilman E.W. Cromartie says the city is not at fault. He says the controversial hold in the pipe was already there.

"The city is saying the hole was placed there sometime ago," said Cromartie. "Not by them."

There's plenty of finger pointing, but no answers about who's responsible for fixing the mess.

"You don't want anyone to be in that kind of condition," said Cromartie. "But on the other hand if you did it on taxpayers dollars I don't think you would want the citizenry to have to pay for something the city is not responsible for."

"I live on a fixed-income it's not like I can call a plumber, because I can't pay one," said Smith-Jeter. "I still have to wake up every morning with this and I just would like some help."

The family wants help with cleaning up the messy situation.