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City officials meet with residents about sewage issues

Residents living in the North Shore Triangle neighborhood are demanding action from South Bend officials.

ABC 57’S Andrea Alvarez first told you Sunday that the February floods left some residents’ basements covered in raw sewage. They took their concerns about the back-ups to a meeting with Emergency Management and Public Works Tuesday night after having met with them before, but this time, neighbors had hopes of coming up with a solution by the end of that meeting.

 “We learned as a neighborhood that the city really has no knowledge of their own sewer system and they have only a vague idea of how they might begin working on fixing the problem,” said Jim Rogers, a resident of North Short Triangle neighborhood

Rogers and other neighbors there were feeling disappointed after the meeting with city officials after discussing the heated topic that caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to their homes, and this isn’t the first time it’s happened here. (see video above)

“We appreciate the fact that we have access to officials of the city. I think we were surprised to find out, for example, that the city has no plan to actually segregate sanitary sewers from storm sewers.” Rogers

Emergency Management and Public Works officials say they’re looking to help, but that this neighborhood in particular saw the brunt of the floods that caused the sewage backup.

“We’re primarily in listening mode. It’ll take some investigation. It’ll take us looking at our systems but the reality is we have a really old combined sewer system,” said Eric Horvath, Executive Director, Dept. of Public Works.

And although a 20-year sewage separations plan is in place, according to officials, to prevent that from happening again in the future…

“We’re trying to get all that flow, as much of that flow as we can to the treatment plant which is part of our long term control plan,” said Horvath.

Neighbors say time is costing them their livelihood and they’re done cleaning up the mess.

“There seems to be no time and action plan. We have plans that extend out to 2029… we can’t wait until 2029, we need a time and action plan that shows us steps towards progress that mitigate this problem asap,” said Rogers.

Residents of the North Shore Triangle neighborhood say they plan to take advantage of various city meetings and opportunities to not only voice their concerns but offer suggestions on how to fix this issue.

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