Frozen sewage system failing many families in Livingston County

 You don't really know what a luxury flushing a toilet is until you have gone without. 

Teresa Richards' family in Pinckney have been going without proper running water for over a week.  

"We have a porta potty that we've been using. We've had to take it into town, to relatives, to dump it. Take showers at relatives'. Eating out; we can't cook because we can't drain water or wash dishes," says Richards. 

The Richards, like a lot of their neighbors, paid $24,000 years ago to go from septic to sewer in an effort to save Patterson Lake. It's a vacuum sewer, and now the valves are frozen. That means water can flow into the house - but not out. 

"The only thing I've been hearing is pipes are frozen, and they're waiting for the weather to thaw," she says. 

When she contacted the Multi Lake Water and Sewer Authority, she was given the same release that FOX 2 received, and says she was asked to pass it around to the neighbors. 

According to the release, the sewer failure affects customers in Gregory, Unadilla Township, Patterson Lake and Putnam Township. 

Richards says it's been over a week now and, while crews have been working around the clock, the real fix likely won't come until the weather warms up. 

"I can't go a couple more days like this. I have a daughter  I need to take care of; I need to work; I need to shower;I need to cook. I can't afford to eat out every night. Nobody can," she says.

Richards says that the Putnam Twp. Fire Department offered residents on Friday use of their station's showers and restrooms as a temporary solution. She says they told her they're calling the situation a "catastrophic sewer failure".

She wishes the sewer authority would have been more proactive in the first place. 

"Instead of waiting for us to contact them, they should've contacted us," she says.  

For questions about the sewer system failure or the status of repairs, please contact the MLWSA at (734) 426-9797.
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