Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Homeowner's property sinking due to years-old sewer issue, City-Parish says its not responsible

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BATON ROUGE - A woman says a work crew may have done more harm than good when they tried to fix her sinking yard. Now she's facing serious issues with her home.

Barbara Davis feels like she's being ignored and no one will help her.

"They don't care. They just don't care," Davis said. "And it shouldn't be our job to correct it."

It all started in 2017 when Davis says her husband first noticed changes in her backyard.

"We thought there was a pipe leak," she said.

At that point, Davis says they started calling the City-Parish, but no action was taken until 2019.

The sewer pipe runs under Davis' driveway. It's where the City-Parish found three leaks, and it eventually led them to tear up the driveway in 2020, replace the sewer pipe, and pour new concrete. Ever since, she says, the job has caused her nothing but trouble.

"Our home is destroyed," she said. "It's not our fault, and the people who destroyed it... lies."

Davis says when the City-Parish did the work, a backhoe was used instead of a jackhammer to break up the driveway. She says that force into the ground, combined with years of sewer pipe erosion caused her home to crack in several places.

A week after the driveway was completed, Davis says a hole at the end of the driveway opened up. Davis says it sat there for months until someone came by and filled it with dirt. She says cracks have formed around the house, in the carport, and now in the newly-poured driveway.

She fears that the dirt under the new driveway was not compacted properly. On top of that, she's having flooding issues. Sandbags have become a permanent fixture in her yard, so have feet and feet of piping that line the driveway and connect to a sump pump. That pump helps to remove standing water from the back yard and carport, which Davis says sunk due to the sewer pipe damage.

"My husband has to get up if it's three o'clock in the morning to turn the pumps on to keep water from getting into her house," said Davis.

She's begging the city for help hoping someone will listen. The City-Parish says it's washed its hands of this and the case is closed. It tells 2 On Your Side that Davis has a history of foundation issues, and they are not responsible for what has happened. Davis says she was made promises, and those promises were not kept.

"This is our city. Our city has destroyed our home," she said.

Davis is now in a tough spot. She's sought out bids to elevate her house to keep it from cracking any further and says it could cost $17,000 to make her home level again. It's that, or hire a lawyer. Davis says she can't afford to do both.

"I feel like they'd rather have us sue than pay anything," she said.

The City-Parish says Davis can always file another claim. Davis isn't sure that will do anything and as time goes on, fears her situation will only get worse.


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