Detroiters tired of constant sewer backups while waiting for repairs

Several neighbors on Detroit's west side say they have a problem that really stinks. They say several of their sewers are backing up -- and claim they haven't gotten any help from the city. 

"Mold, everything. Anything you can think of is down there," says James Murray. He showed us the water in his basement, and says it came from the sewers. He also claims it's been this way for four months.

"It's like they don't want to do nothing," he says. "I called them three, four times; they just keep telling me they're going to put it in their note. And that's it! I don't get nothing else."

When we went to speak with Murray on Normandy near Pilgrim on the west side, we learned he's not the only one with the issue.

"It's been a lot of work. I had to pull everything out of the basement, and then, of course, the concerns of mold. So, it's just created a lot of work and I have been told by some neighbors that it's a consistent problem in this neighborhood," says Kali Malofy-Medwed.

Yolanda Bonner says she knows of another three neighbors across the street this happened to. She also showed us a support pole in her basement where the paint's been stripped away. 

"You can tell where the water was just sitting for weeks, almost a month," she said. 

Several say their basements have been backing up with sewer water, wrecking equipment and causing what seems like a constant cleanup.

"I was depressed, man. I just had back surgery in November. I'm not supposed to be lifting; I'm not supposed to be running up and down but I have to do what I have to do," Bonner says. "This is my first house I've ever owned; I don't even want to own a house because of this! It's just too much work. Everything was okay except for that flooding; it's disgusting. I wouldn't even let an animal live like that."

We asked Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department deputy director what's going on - especially with a board and cones we saw covering a hole. Palencia Mobley said she's not sure it's connected to the issues folks are having, but says they came out and rodded and cleaned their sewer infrastructure.

"I can't say that these particular people will get assistance from the city; I do not know the root cause of the issue at this point. Until we finish our investigation we will not be able to provide any additional information," said Mobley. She couldn't say specifically how long the investigation would continue. 

She says if and when another incident occurs, she wants the homeowner to call the City and provide their address. The City says they want people to call each time there's a back up so they can come out and see if the sewer is up and do an investigation. The number to call is 1-313-267-8000.