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Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Major pump station failed during heavy rainfall

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BATON ROUGE - One of the city's newest and largest pump stations failed during heavy rain last week, leaving behind a huge mess that backed up into the streets and yards of a nearby neighborhood.

Residents of the Westminster neighborhood still have some dried toilet paper and dusty sewage at the corner of Drusilla and South Maiden Drive even after the city-parish cleaned up most of the mess. 

About an hour into Friday's storm, tree limbs fell on power lines, which caused one of the generators to kick on at the nearby pump station. When the sewer lines filled up with water, a second generator tried to start, but failed—shutting down the entire station for 71 minutes. It's one of the largest stations in the city.

It's not the first time this has happened. Video from another heavy rainstorm in May shows sewage shooting out of the manhole cover and into the street, mixing with the rainwater. From there, it drains directly into Ward Creek behind the houses.

City-parish officials are still trying to figure out why the second generator failed. They say there's a real problem with too much water getting in the sewer lines during heavy storms, putting too much stress on the system. Officials believe one of the main culprits are illegal storm drainage hook-ups from homes built directly into sewer lines..

In one neighborhood, city-parish leaders say a third of the residents had built illegal drainage lines. If caught, residents could face fines.

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