Roanoke apartment management cleans up raw sewage flooding after five days of flooded homes

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:55 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Residents at the Ashton Heights Apartments in Roanoke whose homes were flooded with raw sewage are being transferred to different apartments five days after the problem started.

Tuesday morning, WDBJ7 saw the sewage covering the apartment floors. Wednesday afternoon, crews and contractors had started cleaning up the raw sewage.

The apartment’s property manager told WDBJ7 in an email management is working with contractors to fix the problem.

“Once the contractor arrived on Tuesday, they were able to jet the line and get the line unclogged,” Cheyenne Altice said.

The Director of the Western Virginia Water Authority explained why it’s up to the apartment owner to take care of it.

“Anything on the private side is the responsibility of the homeowner,” Sarah Baumgardner said.

Ashton Heights Apartment building is privately owned, surrounded by public sewage lines. Any sewer lines in the apartment complex are considered private property. Baumgardner explained the public lines didn’t cause the sewage backup.

“Our line is open, the line that would receive the flow from the apartment complex is open and available to receive flow,” Baumgardner said. “So if there is a blockage, and it’s not getting to us, then it probably is on the private side.”

Baumgardner explained the public lines have routine cleaning maintenance every six months.

“The line that receives the flow, from this apartment complex and this surrounding neighbors, we do know has had a problem in the past with fats and grease in the line,” Baumgardner said.

Altice explained management contacted contractors Monday, but scheduling issues delayed fixing the problem.

“Ashton Heights had contacted multiple contractors on Monday as soon as we were made aware of the situation to assist with getting this concern resolved quickly,” Altice said. “Unfortunately, we saw a couple delays due to contractor scheduling.”

Baumgardner explained Western Virginia Water Authority also learned about the problem Monday.

“We may have gotten a call from somebody to go out and check because we did go out there on June 27, two days ago to check, but then when I heard from you today that there had been blockages, we’re like ‘Let’s go out and make sure it’s not on our, on our side,” Baumgardner said. “And it wasn’t.”

Altice did not explain the reason it took five days for management to move residents out of apartments filled with raw sewage, but explained the cause of the backup.

“The cause of the sewage backup was due to inappropriate items being flushed down toilets, causing unsanitary conditions for fellow residents,” Altice said.

Taniah Ferguson, resident at Ashton Heights Apartments, told WDBJ7 management had called her at 3 p.m. Wednesday to get moved into a new apartment.

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