Sewage spills onto playground

PIERCETON, Ind. – Pieces of toilet paper were scattered around the playground on West Market Street Thursday afternoon.

The rain had already stopped, but Lucy Smith said it was still a crappy day; because in this small Kosciusko County town, when it rains, it stinks.

 “It bubbles up, and toilet paper and feces run up onto the ground,” Lucy Smith said raw sewage overflows from the pump station in the lot across the street from her house.

The lowest spot in town, Smith said everything in the sewer system collects underneath that pump before it’s sent over to the sanitation plant on the south side of town. But all backed up, the waste and the rainwater have nowhere to go but up.

The cement base of the pump station was stained from the waste that had spilled out; the ground all around it was wet and mushy. One of the drains covers was pushed up out of place, surrounded by toilet paper.

“Well it’s raw sewage and it’s gross,” L. Smith said when the water gets high the flood of waste runs into the church’s playground just a couple hundred feet away. “Well if it over flows it goes down and runs underneath the playground equipment.” Wrapped in caution tape the swing set is no longer in use but L. Smith said kids still play in that lot all the time.

“It’s a health hazard because it stays on top of the ground when the water goes away,” Bill Smith said the waste gets absorbed into the soil but the toilet paper sticks. It is proof of the serious, sickening problem going on across the street, B. Smith said, “They don’t wash the grass or nothing and that toilet paper and stuff lays right up there on the ground.”

The waste, the toilet paper, and everything else that gets flushed down the toilet and floats out of the sewer stays there in that lot all year round. “The sun comes out and bakes it and it makes an awful smell,” B. Smith said.

The Smiths said that lot has flooded for as long as they can remember; the couple has lived in that house for more than fifty years. “My kids used to play in it and I was young enough that I just thought it was rainwater.” L. Smith said she then noticed the flooding was full of used toilet paper and feces, “I just thought this cannot go on.”

The pump station on West Market Street in not the only spot in town where this is happening, one man had to fill in his basement because his basement continued to flood with raw sewage.

The Smiths are just one of a number of families in Pierceton to raise their concerns with the town, L. Smith said, “The town says they know it needs to be fixed and they’re not sure how.”

According to the Street Superintendent, the pipes need to be refurbished but the town just does not have the money. At the Town Council meeting, L. Smith said she was told it could cost each family $10,000 to solve the sewage problem, “We don’t have that kind of money, no one out here does.”

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