A "Smelly" Problem

By: Tyler Helms
By: Tyler Helms

"It's to a point that your eyes burn and your nose, too. It's just awful. You can smell it right now," said Raymond Sims, who owns a home in south Lauderdale County.

He is talking about his own backyard. Sims claims the wastewater pump serving the adjacent apartment complex is not working, resulting in sewage and waste water running into his house and yard.

"It has been a problem for almost 10 years," said Sims. "I have done everything I could do to get help."

In order to get that help, Sims decided to document the problem. Earlier this month, he videotaped the sewage back up, both in his yard and in his house. He then called the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

We contacted Melinda Salazar who owns the Zero Community Apartments. She chose not to be on camera but said the sewage and water issues were not her problem at all. In fact, she claims they are a result of Sims cutting down trees and blocking a nearby creek.

But when the Department of Environmental Quality visited the site Thursday, it disagreed. Friday DEQ told Newscenter 11 the problems are being investigated. In a statement, a DEQ representative said, "The owner of Zero Community Apartments has been contacted and has taken steps to address the situation."

The DEQ also placed lime on Sims' property and said the remaining water is in fact clean.

"This community tries to get along but we don't get along with those apartments," said Sims.

This dispute brings up a much larger issue. That is, the lack of a countywide wastewater ordinance. The Lauderdale County board of supervisors has considered such an ordinance but never approved one.


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