Raw sewage runs out residents - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Nick Paranjape

Raw sewage runs out residents

Residents are cleaning up after raw sewage backed up into their apartments. After living with the smell for a day, residents at the Independent Apartments called Action News 5 to take action.

The apartment complex is now all cleaned up and the residents are back in. But, it was a different story overnight.

As one resident said, raw sewage was coming up from her toilet like a water fountain.

"I heard my neighbors, everybody in the hallway hollering and fussing," says Brenda Springfield.

Springfield was one of 24 residents, all of them in wheelchairs, at the assisted living facility who tried to escape the invading sewage with little success.

"Slipping, sliding, carrying feces on your hands," adds Springfield. "It was very sickening, very horrible. We didn't know which way to go from all the feces," she adds.

Ernestine Green said within minutes, the sewage seeped through the entire complex. "It went into their bedrooms, in the hallway, in the laundry room," adds Green.

"I don't know, it was just a panic you know," she adds.

Willis McCorkle is the site manager of the apartment complex. He was told by plumbers that there was a blockage in the city sewer line.

"All kinds of crap all down here. Yeah, crap, that's the appropriate word," says McCorkle.

The Public Works Department was out at 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning and cleared up the blockage.

Inside, maintenance crews cleaned and cleaned. "Sanitary, bleaching, it was a mess," adds McCorkle.

Meanwhile, the Memphis and Shelby County Health Department inspected the complex and gave the okay for residents to move back in.

Public Works Director, Jerry Collins tells me the blockage was likely caused by grease.

He says maybe a restaurant near-by was discharging an inappropriate amount of grease which caused the backup of the sewer line.

Click here to email Nick Paranjape.

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