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Mesa sewage spill leaves residents with lasting mess

Posted at 4:35 AM, Oct 23, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-23 14:36:35-04

A city sewage backup left a lasting mess in one Mesa neighborhood Friday. 

The City of Mesa says "a blockage of grease and 'flushable' wipes in the sewer system" caused an overflow, sending sewage, human waste and other toxins out into the open.  

Chantz Tieman and his wife Melinda say they estimate 15,000 gallons spilled out from pipes underneath their home, onto their driveway, and into their street off East Mesa and University drives. 

They say a few thousand gallons went underneath their home, into their subfloors. 

“Under the house, it’s still wet and it just reeks," Chantz said. "So our whole house smells.”

The sewage reportedly escaped from an open pipe at the Tieman's home, where they were having plumbing work done when the backup started. Other neighbors discovered issues like toilets not flushing and sewage bubbling up from drains inside their home. 

City crews arrived on scene about an hour after the Tiemans called and took several hours to stop the spill. However, the mess and smell still linger. The Tiemans are now worried about the effects the toxins could have on their health. 

“We’ve been at a hotel the last few nights, and probably tonight, maybe another night," Chantz said. "Until we figure out what’s going on with under the house and treat it, and get it resolved.”

The couple has been reading about serious diseases and viruses that can spread after exposure to raw sewage.

"Tetanus, Hepatitis A, E. coli, parasites are among many microbes that can present itself in raw sewage. So, you read that try to figure out like what are you gonna do until this gets cleaned up?”

The Tiemans say crews who responded to the scene Friday weren't much help. No one gave them any information on how to move forward with clean-up. 

“We don’t know how we’re supposed to deal with sewage," Melinda said. 

The couple, parents of four and housing three others in their home, say it's now on them to find a company to get rid of the polluted soil in front of their home and clean up the mess underneath their floors. They reached out to the city, who said they'd need to file a claim and have their damages evaluated to determine if the city would reimburse them for the costs. 

The couple says their homeowner's insurance won't cover any of the damage.