City crews taking action to fix floating sewage found in Norfolk neighborhood

Posted at 5:09 PM, Oct 07, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-08 17:13:31-04

Norfolk, Va. - The floating sewage that was found in an Ocean View neighborhood might be clearing out soon.

A spokesman for the Norfolk Department of Utilities told NewsChannel 3 about a 1.5 million dollar project for a new sanitary sewer system in East Ocean View. They say it will improve the capacity of the sewer system so that everything flows through the sewer pipes and stays in the pipes.

The spokesman says a lot of the water will get into the with the current 50-year-old system and when it rains and can lead to bubbling sewage on 12th Bay Street.

The project is currently in phase three of seven at Pleasant Avenue and the East Ocean View section is next, but that could still be a year away.

"Drains have just been bubbling up out of the ground with raw sewage," said Ocean View resident Robert Braxton.

Braxton says it's been a problem he has tried to address for two years, which is why he took action by contacting NewsChannel 3.

It shows the sewage drains bubbling over, mixing with flood water and going out through the storm water drains.

His worry is where that mix of water is going and what it leaves behind in his street when the water clears out.

"Normally one doesn't see a diaper in their yard, no and it was definitely a diaper," said resident Daphne Van Tiem.

"I've raked condoms out of my yard, tampons everywhere," Braxton said. "The city actually washed about 20 of them out of my driveway and cleaned them up for me."

Braxton says the city came every time he called them, but they usually just clean the drains, which only solves the problem temporarily.

Now he's taking to social media by posting video of the sewer drains and trying to contact other organizations like the Environmental Protection Agency to get permanent results.

"You've got raw sewage that our children are around constantly and the smell," Braxton said. "I'm hoping something a little more drastic dealing with the sewer systems can get done.

A spokesman says the sewer bubbling was likely due to a blockage, and their crews are doing on-going maintenance to work on those issues.

After NewsChannel 3 took action Wednesday, crews came on Thursday to get results.

According to my neighbors, while I was at work they did text me and let me know they had come out to the main intersection up here," said Braxton.

Braxton says the city has always been responsive when it comes to cleaning out the drains but it only works temporarily.

He says he still wants the city to continue to clean out the drains, even though it works temporarily. He knows for the first time a permanent fix is on the way.

"It's definitely the first time I've heard about it," Braxton said. "None of this would have never happened, we wouldn't have even seen trucks today if that wouldn't have happened.  I definitely appreciate it, thank you guys."