Sewage Problem Plagues Neighborhood

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(Hernando, MS) Folks that live next to a sewage lagoon in a Hernando subdivision say they can hardly stand the smell.

The lagoon takes the overflow from septic tanks along Dogwood Hollow and holds it -- or, it’s supposed to hold it.

Audra McLearen says it hit her in the nose on a walk with her daughters.

”We come upon the treatment plant at the end of the street and the smell was just horrible, and we looked over in the neighbor’s yard and saw overflow from the treatment plant standing in the neighbor’s yard," she said.

The problem comes and goes with the weather.

Neighbors say the problem reached its peak with the flooding rain last month, which caused sewage from the lagoon to drain into the yard next door.

That’s right, raw, untreated sewage in huge puddles in the front yard.

And others say that’s not the only problem.

”And the varmints, we have snakes, snapping turtles, anything that crawls and has beady eyes, we have a lot of” said Ardella Barr, who lives next door to the lagoon.

She says mosquitoes can be unbearable.

City leaders say the water that’s supposed to go into this pond is supposed to be clean, and that someone obviously has a septic tank problem.

Worst of all, Hernando leaders say their hands are tied, because the ponds sit on private property.

”We have been working through the legal process to try to work toward taking over those lagoons legally, but that’s not something that can happen overnight,” said Hernando Mayor Chip Johnson.

He’s waiting on a ruling from the health department before he can ask the property be declared a nuisance at the next board meeting.

”I want to present all those facts to the Board of Aldermen, so they can make a decision," Johnson said.

That’s good news to the neighbors.

”We’re supposed to offer some kind of service to get that fixed. We’re in the city, I mean what are our taxes going for"? asked McLearen.

Hernando has plans to extend a sewer line here, but says it’ll take a few more years.