Sewage, feces floods Detroit's Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood

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As a summer thunderstorm rolls over Metro Detroit, homeowners in one Detroit neighborhood are fed up. They say this kind of storm can leave them up to their knees in raw sewage. Before now, the city hasn't fixed it.

Akilah Merriweather says when it rains it pours. Literally. During a storm earlier this month, a massive amount of sewage left its mark.

"After the water went down. It left a whole lot of sludge," Merriweather said "It was 2 inches thick, all in the grass. All over my car. I'm pregnant. I have two small children. Sewage is full of bacteria, mold is just steadily accumulating."

She's not alone. Families in the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood are always watching the weather because they know what could happen.

Roughly 500 hundred people packed a church gym in the neighborhood along the Detroit River. They wanted to let the Detroit Water and Sewer Department Great Lakes Water Authority know the extent of the problems. During public comment portion of the meeting, some people claimed the residents lost millions in property because of the flooding.

DWSD's executive director Gary Brown admits there could have been a mistake made.

"Could there have been human error? Yes," Brown said.

The DWSD says this problem has happened three times in the past five years in the neighborhood. Plumbers like Bart Daughtery are regularly called out to fix the problem - one that he says is an easy fix for everyone.

"The problem is they got combination sewers here and when it storms and we get these huge floods, it backs up into the house," Daughtery said. "All they would have to do is put a backflow preventer in their basement where the sewer comes in to and it would eliminate 90% of the problem."

While it may be part of the solution, DWSD says they plan a six-week independent investigation to find out if there is something else going on.

Merriweather says while the investigation gets going, they should do something else as well: clean the streets.