Jefferson County tenant discovers sewage going directly into Dou

Jefferson County tenant discovers sewage going directly into Douglas Lake

Posted:
A broken PVC pipe means sewage doesn't make it to the septic tank. A broken PVC pipe means sewage doesn't make it to the septic tank.
The broken pipe is right by Douglas Lake. The broken pipe is right by Douglas Lake.
"We can't even open the windows to our house because that's all we can smell," Brooke Powell said. "We can't even open the windows to our house because that's all we can smell," Brooke Powell said.
"With rain like we're having now, it's going to wash off into the lake and cause contaminate to go into the water," Jefferson County Environmental Director Tom Carter said. "With rain like we're having now, it's going to wash off into the lake and cause contaminate to go into the water," Jefferson County Environmental Director Tom Carter said.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

DANDRIDGE (WATE) - The Tennessee Valley Authority's system of lakes and dams make East Tennessee a recreational mecca of the South.

Not only do people enjoy fun on the lakes, but they also live along the lakes.

And with lakeside living can come water pollution.

In today's world, sewage water pollution is one of the major problems which can lead to health related and environmental issues.

Water used for domestic purposes gets converted into wastewater and is termed by the experts as sewage water.

There are stringent rules prohibiting sewage water from spilling onto property and especially into lakes.

Brooke Powell and her family moved into their home in March, but said she didn't notice anything until about a month and a half ago.

Powell has quite a view of Douglas Lake from her front porch where she rents a lakeside home.

While it looks exotic, she says looks can be deceiving, because it's not exactly a healthy place.

"Our sewage is running into the lake," she said.
     
Powell and her husband have stacked a bunch of wood over a broken PVC pipe.

Her son, Kyle, first noticed the problem. When he stands in the bathroom about 15 feet from the piled up wood and flushes some torn up tissue paper, it only takes a few moments for the water to start flowing outside the home.

It pours directly onto the ground within fifteen feet of their home.

"We can't even open the windows to our house because that's all we can smell," she said.

And it gets worse when it's hot.

"We tried to dig it out ourselves to make the hole to where it would not go into the lake. Nothing was working," she said.

Powell said her landlord told her not to worry about it.

6 On Your Side tried to find the landlord and ask him about the sewage problem, but he wasn't home the day we visited.

However, the Jefferson County Health Department was made aware of the issue.

The health director visited and found the septic tank was broken.

"The pipe had been removed from the tank and we had raw sewage running out on top of the ground," said Tom Carter, the environment health director for the county.
    
Carter said effluents present in sewage water contain innumerable pathogens and even though the polluted water does not pour directly into Douglas Lake, there is still concern.

"With rain like we're having now, it's going to wash off into the lake and cause contaminate to go into the water," he said.

The landlord has been given 30 days to come up with a plan of action to resolve the sewage pollution, and the process is underway.

"He was aware of the problem. He had already contacted an installer to correct it, and has had the tank pumped and the area around it cleaned up," Carter said.

Jefferson County inspectors will return in a few weeks to check on the final results of the clean up and repairs.

If you know of a broken septic system or sewage spilling into a lake or any body of water, report the problem to your health department.

Environmental Director Tom Carter says that is the only way his office or other health departments discover those issues. 


You can see Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports every Monday and Wednesday on 6 News at 5:00.

If you have a consumer question, send Don an email at ddare@wate.com or call his 6 On Your Side Hotline at (865) 633-5974.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.