FARMINGTON, Mo. – A stinky sewage mess leads to a disturbing discovery and a dog bite.
The problem is apparent: raw sewage of some sort flowing into the yard of 88-year-old Betty Hammers’ home from underneath the home next door.
Our Fox 2/KPLR 11 news crew could smell a sewage-like stench when Farmington city workers removed a piece of wood from a crawl space under the home.
Betty and her family say the problem has been ongoing for years. When we stepped in and took the concerns to Farmington city leaders, they acted right away.
"I don’t like it, for one thing, you know," Betty said. "It makes me mad. I don’t like to breathe that stuff all the time. In fact, sometimes I wonder if that’s what makes me sick."
Mike Hammers, Betty’s son, says he’s had multiple interactions with city officials. He even spent $2,500 in January to replace his mom’s sewer line to make sure it was clear.
"There’s times naturally that you can smell it like raw sewage and then when the sun comes out in the summer and it gets nice and hot, and the leaves are matted on the ground, there’s this grey and green film of dried sewage, and when you go over that with a lawnmower, you choke to death," he said.
Mike reached out to us when he felt like he was getting nowhere with Farmington City Hall.
"They’re just blowing me off like I’m just, you know – leave us alone we got bigger things to do," he said.
After looking into the situation, we met with Farmington Mayor Larry Forsythe and Public Works Director Larry Lacy.
"I would not want to live by it," said Mayor Forsythe.
Forsythe says the city has been dealing with the issue since 2015. They turned off water to the home three times because of sewage concerns and worked with the homeowners to replace part of their sewer line.
Forsythe says he thought the problem was resolved until he received a recent email from Mike Hammers.
City officials believe some kind of sewage problem under the home is causing the leak.
“It’s the homeowners’ responsibility to take care of their own house, right? So, my take on it is that we’re going to have to push the homeowner to get this problem resolved," Forsythe said.
Forsythe and Lacy went to the home after our interview. But while they were there a dog from the home in question bit the mayor.
Forsythe got checked out while a city worker shut off the water.
The Hammers just want the sewage and stinking mess to stop.
"I’d like for them to enforce whatever codes they may or may not have. I’m not aware of their code system. I’m sure that this is not what they want," Mike said.
Since we were there, the family in the house with the plumbing problem moved out and the mayor tells us the water will not be turned back on there until the problem is fixed.
In the meantime, a member of that family emailed to say they believe the problem is a water leak and that with the help of people, including the homeowner’s boss, they are working on repairs.