Dirty water and sewage backups: HOA Communities demand action from local governments

By Deborah Goonan, Independent American Communities

In the 1950s through 1970s, municipal and county planning commissions issued permits to allow for the creation of various private communities, either with onsite water-sewer treatment facilities or hookups to public utility lines.

But now sewage backups and dirty water plague some older communities with decades-old utility infrastructure.

Residents are approaching their local government officials through their homeowners or condo associations, asking for help identifying the cause of the problems, and, ultimately, doing whatever it takes to fix them.

Unfortunately, due to inaction by their city and county officials, owners and residents feel that their needs are being neglected.



Rock Island condo owners plan to speak up about ongoing sewage backup issues

ROCK ISLAND, Illinois—About a dozen homeowners from Hodge Park and Park Ridge condominiums plan to attend Monday’s city council meeting to talk about ongoing sewage buildup problems.

For some, this has been an issue for about 10 years.

Homeowner Katrina Fuller says the constant sewage clean up in her basement over the last nine years is encouraging her to find somewhere else to live.

“I’ve thrown away couches, chairs (and) personal belongings… I’ll never feel okay in this house. I’ve had five houses in Rock Island, this is the first one I’ve ever had sewer backups in,” says Fuller.

Like many other residents, Fuller had a backflow preventer installed in her basement. Although it helps, it’s still an extra expense she’s had to deal with.

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Rock Island condo owners plan to speak up about ongoing sewage backup issues


Fuller, the condo owner, has had chronic problems with sewage backups into her basement. She says that, during heavy rain, storm water overflows into the sanitary sewage system. Fuller also explains that she has spent nearly $30,000 in home repairs – including installation of a backflow preventer – after her basement has been damaged twice.

Homeowners have attended an August city council meeting (See Minutes here), but still have no resolution to their problems. The issues may require repair of private sewage lines, as well as rerouting of old foundation stormwater drains that are no longer acceptable under current building codes.

Many of the residents of Hodge Park and Park Ridge are retired adults.

See also:

Rock Island homeowners concerned over sewage damage (KWQC)



Brighton community tired of coping with filthy water



BRIGHTON, Colo. — Carlos Morales said ugly, brownish-orange, foul smelling water is flowing through the pipes of his home at the Creekside South Estates in Brighton — and now he’s worried about his health.

“I’m losing hair and I don’t know what else is going on with my body with that water,” he said.

“I just want to live a normal life like everybody else does. I feel like we’re living in a third world country,” said neighbor Shirley Shepherd, whose horse snubs the water.

Morales said his family has been putting up with the filthy water for a year.

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Brighton community tired of coping with filthy water


This rural community has a private water supply, the responsibility of the HOA. But the HOA seems to be unable to effectively address the issues. The water system has been cited with several public health violations. But has anyone from the state of Colorado offered administrative support or assistance from environmental engineers to steer the volunteer homeowner board in the right direction?




Calverton homeowners sue Suffolk over sewage system demands

Updated October 18, 2017 3:21 PM
By Carl MacGowan carl.macgowan@newsday.com

Homeowners at a Calverton town house complex have filed a federal lawsuit against Suffolk County in a dispute over a sewage treatment system that serves the development’s homes.
Leaders of the Calverton Hills Homeowners Association say the county is requiring residents to install a new wastewater plant that would cost about $7 million — far more than many residents can afford.

Landlords said about half of the complex’s approximately 1,000 residents are on some form of public assistance, and some units are in foreclosure.
“It’s going to be a financial hardship for a lot of families that have an income less than the median income,” said Michelle Janlewicz, who owns and rents out three units. “Most people already owe more than the property is worth.”

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See also:

Calverton Hills homeowners sue county over outdated sewer system (News-Review)


Calverton Hills is an older town house community with many low income tenants. Board members are owners who lease more than one unit. The association has been told they need a $7 million upgrade to their sewage system, and Suffolk County expects the HOA to pay for it. Of course, with so many low income residents, there is nowhere near enough money in reserve, and no chance that owners can ever scrape up millions of dollars.

The HOA says the County owns the sewer system, but the County says the HOA owns it. A lawsuit is underway. But with no solution in sight, the County may have to shut down Calverton HIlls due to the noncompliance issues with its sewer system.