KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE -)- The property owner of an apartment building that was recently declared ‘unfit for human habitation’ said the sewage issue should be fixed by Friday.
The City of Knoxville declared the Southernaire Apartments on Avenue B unfit on Tuesday, after Robert Moyers, the city codes manager, described the problem as a “lake of sewage” in the backyard.
According to Moyers, residents of the complex notified the city about the sewage creating a puddle in the backyard on Monday.
Moyers said that staff was unable to get in contact with the property owner, Shiran Brodt, on Monday or Tuesday, to stop sewage and install portable toilets.
Brodt said he was made aware of the flooding on Sunday, while he was on vacation, and immediately caught a flight to Knoxville the same night.
He said that he had plumbers check out the issue on Monday, but crews weren’t able to start repairs until Thursday.
Residents told WATE 6 On Your Side that the sewage had been a problem for a few years, but property staff would simply snake the sewer system to relieve some pressure.
They said that the backup started last week, but property staff said they weren’t notified about the latest issue until Sunday.
Property staff also said that the sewage issue didn’t start until a concrete pieces from the foundation fell on the sewage pipes.
Residents said though, that they have been asking property management to fix the gaping hole where the concrete fell, and it has yet to be fixed.
Moyers said that stormwater crews returned to the complex Wednesday morning and found that the issue hadn’t been repaired, and they hadn’t made contact with Brodt, so the city issued 11 violations at $250 each for failure to comply.
Brodt said he was never contacted by the city. He said that the city reached out to one of the property managers, who also happened to be out of town at the time.
He said he didn’t know he was required to install portable toilets, but as soon as he learned, he ordered them to be installed.
The portable toilets arrived around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
Brodt and his property managers were on the property Wednesday, shoveling the sewage muck and covering the damp area with lawn lime.
Brodt said that plumbers would be on the property Thursday for repairs.
The Knoxville Community Action Committee was notified that residents might be displaced because of the sewage issue.
CAC staff were at the property Wednesday afternoon to let residents know they can help find temporary housing.
Staff will be back on Friday to see if their help is still needed.
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