FOX 8 Defenders: Heavy rains cause sewage overflows in Metairie subdivision

Metairie resident voices frustration over sewage back up in front of her house during downpours

METAIRIE, La. (WVUE) - While many residents have come to expect their streets to flood during heavy rains, one Jefferson Parish subdivision deals with a rather stinkier consequence.

Gail Boylan lives in the Elmwood Park neighborhood and said on several occasions, she’s seen sewerage spewing out from the ground in front of her house during a downpour, including last Friday (April 5).

“Human waste and other things come out of the drain in front of our house,” Boylan said.

Boylan said she called the Sewerage Department several times to clean it.

“When they clean it, they just push it into the street,” Boylan said. “I think it’s a health hazard, and plus they have young children, they have animals, and it’s just really gross."

Brett Todd, director of the Department of Sewerage, said they are aware of the issue and do their best to avoid it.

“It’s not supposed to happen, but unfortunately, living in Jefferson Parish with the soil conditions that we have and the water table, inflow and infiltration, is a significant problem for us in the sewerage system, especially when it rains heavily, like it did on April 5,” Todd said.

Todd said it’s a problem that’s been going on for a while now, and Boylan’s Metairie neighborhood is often hit hardest.

“This subdivision is probably, or was probably, the worst in Jefferson Parish,” Todd said.

He said the parish prepares for five times the normal flow when it rains, but Boylan’s neighborhood sees doubles that amount.

“This subdivision is someplace in the 10-range. Ten times the normal flow we would get on a dry day, due to inflow and infiltration,” Todd said.

To make matters worse for Boylan, her house is the closest to the canal, which means she floods first when it rains.

“She’s at the shallowest part of the sewer system. I mean, this is the last part of the sewer system," Todd said. “It’s similar to like, a low elevation house and a high elevation house. When the streets flood, who’s gonna get the water first? The low elevation house.”

He said they've received three calls from Boylan's address since 2015.

"I'm just curious to see if there's something wrong with these lines trying to get this water out of the neighborhood, out of her area," Todd said.

In the meantime, Boylan remains frustrated over the lack of a sustainable solution.

“To have to keep calling, over and over again, to have them come and push it into the street, not even fix the problem? That’s a huge concern,” Boylan said.

Todd said he will be sending crews out to take a closer look at the sewage line to see what the underlying problem is.

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