Sewage smell still causing stink in South Bend neighborhood

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Last summer ABC 57 met with those living along Chippewa Avenue after several complaints that a horrible smell was coming from the street’s sewage drains.

ABC 57 contacted the city of South Bend and a month later workers were out there digging up the drains and installing caps on the inlets to stop the smell from escaping up to the street.

Neighbors said the fix helped, but never actually got rid of the smell. Now the neighborhood say it is worse than ever.

An independent contractor, who works on sewer systems, said in order for these devices inside the sewer to work, the water needs to be at a certain level. So, with the hot temperatures and the summer drought, there just has not been enough water in sewers for it to work.

When we first met Mike Greider he said the smell along Chippewa Avenue was unbearable. So, when he and other neighbors saw the city stepping up to fix the problem last June, they celebrated. “Everybody thought, ‘ah great, they are re-doing them. It's going to be fine’. Then about a month later, during the first nice day out and the smell was back,” said Bill Mason.

Mason, who has lived on the street for a decade, and the rest of the neighborhood were back where they started. He said it only got worse as this summer's drought took hold of Michiana. “It stinks, literally. People come over and they’re like what is that smell? Oh, it’s the sewer”.

Neighbors said this is not the first time the city has tried to get rid of the stench. Now, they fear it was just another quick fix. “They had this project done quickly, cheaply and they have tried doing it quickly, cheaply before,” said Mike Greider.

“They would have saved a lot more money if they would have fixed it right the first time,” agreed Mason. To make matters worse, neighbors said city workers and the crews that re-did the sewers made a suggestion that did not sit well with them.

“Stick your garden hose in there and put some water in there so you don't smell it,” said Greider. They said that could easily get expensive and said that suggestion is not the long term solution they were looking for.

ABC 57 called the city's engineering department Friday afternoon for its reaction, but everyone had already left for the weekend.

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