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Family fighting sewage invasion in their home

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WALKER - The stench is nearly unbearable for one family in Walker as they continue to recover from a flood of sewage that took over their home.

Three years ago Alicia Cheplick's home was flooded with sewage after the grinder station in her front yard did not function properly. The station grinds raw sewage, then sends the slurry of waste down the line. In this case, Cheplick said the sewage came back in the other direction.

"Basically sewage came up from everything except the sinks," she explained.

City leaders met with Cheplick and about 25 Walker residents with similar problems, and said they'd been fixed. However, Cheplick said workers continued coming back to her home almost every six months to deal with more problems with the system, and she's tired of coming home not knowing if it will or won't work.

"If something is fixed then I shouldn't have to see you again. If it's not fixed, which ours has not been fixed appropriately, then it's going to continually be a problem and you need to find a different solution," she said.

City officials said they're aware of the problem with these grinder stations.

"Is it a problem sometimes? Yes," said the mayor's chief of staff, Fred Raiford. "It's mechanical pieces of equipment and when you have that type of equipment sitting in the sewer system, you're going to have things that break mechanically that you're going to have to go out and fix. I feel like we've done the best we can at this point, until there are some more funds available to try to upgrade or improve these types of systems into a gravity system."

Raiford says he is working to find out how many homes are having problems with their grinder systems and how much it will cost to have them connected to a gravity flow system.

"To really fix these types of systems you need to move on to a gravity system," he said.

Raiford says a fix like this could cost millions of dollars, money they city does not have.


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