Raw sewage floods Polk neighborhoods

Raw sewage is being included in flooded waters in Polk County following Hurricane Irma.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. -- Two days after power failures left Polk County lift stations unable to function, toilet water was still leaking from underground on International Bass Boulevard in Davenport. Utility crews raced from one lift station to another, pumping excess waste water.

It was an improvement over Monday.

“This manhole is literally pouring out, like through the holes it was lifting, pouring out, pouring out,” Amanda Jalbert said.

Jalbert says it was a lot worse after Irma. Her toilet backed up and sent human waste into her home. Her street was covered with standing water filled with feces  and a rank smell, bordered by signs warning neighbors of harmful bacteria.

“We have feces in our house, in the carpet! We had to pay for professional cleaners to come clean our carpet. Nobody’s paid for a brand new carpet for us. For all we know we have mold in it,” she said.

At least 20 lift stations lost power in Polk County. With no back up power source, they started filling up with waste water. The one on International Bass Boulevard borders a popular fishing spot.

For Jalbert, it’s not a new problem. Polk County officials admit, every time the stations lose power in a storm, backups follow.  County officials are not sure when the stations will be back online and are are asking people to take fewer showers and flush less.

“We have feces in our house, in the carpet! We had to pay for professional cleaners to come clean our carpet. Nobody’s paid for a brand new carpet for us. For all we know we have mold in it,” Jalbert said.

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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