Farr West families face fifth day of filthy flooding as sewers overflow

Posted at 7:29 PM, Feb 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-11 23:34:57-05

FARR WEST, Utah -- A wet winter isn't just causing rivers to run high, it’s also causing quite a problem for sewer systems in a few cities in northern Utah.

Cache County is currently asking people in the Logan area to limit their water use, and now one neighborhood is asking Weber County to do the same.

That neighborhood in Farr West City has been experiencing sewage flooding. For some homes it has been on and off, but for one family, they haven't been so lucky.

“Day five, day five of pumping feces,” said homeowner Justin Caldwell.

Caldwell's basement is a pool of sewage water. At one point he says it was 18-inches deep.

His water is shut off, so this water and waste is from other people in nearby cities. The sewage system is overloaded, and he’s not the only house feeling the effects. The entire street has had sewage coming up from the drains in their basements.

“It was filled with human waste—including like full-size poo from people—and tampons,” homeowner Jill Schofield said.

Schofield said her husband and many of her neighbors have been busy helping each other and haven’t slept in days. Saturday, neighbors gathered for an emergency city council meeting.

“We had this meeting here, and we let the people voice, and we're going to try and help them as much as we can and get the information out through the church, though media, through Facebook,” said Lee Dickemore, mayor of Farr West.

They are getting the word out that people need to restrict their water use.

“The best thing that people can do to help us, regardless if you're in Farr West, Pleasant View, North Ogden, Plain City, I mean, I’m urging my residents please refrain from using water right now: We've gotta let our system catch up,” said Bren Edwards, Plain City’s Public Works Director.

Farr West City officials say the system is overloaded because of illegal sump pump hookups. Sump pumps are used to collect ground water and pump it out so that a basement doesn’t flood. The problem is many homes illegally, and often ignorant of the rules against doing so, have their sump pump pushing water into the sewer line when it should be going to the storm drain.

“People are now, it’s more convenient to take a sump pump and tie it to the black pipe that's in your house that goes right to the sewer versus having to core a drill, a hole through your foundation to run it to the road,” Edwards said.

But these explanations don't have everyone satisfied.

“Millions of people have wet winters and have water, but they don't have human feces floating up through their drains,” Schofield said.

As for Justin, he's frustrated city officials aren't doing more to investigate. He says the mayor is the only city official who has even looked at his basement.

“Grow a set and at least come look, get off your, I mean, how would you like it if I come put this in your house?” Caldwell said.