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Volker residents deal with raw sewage in their homes

Posted at 5:13 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-14 19:34:24-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The city is now involved in a case where some folks in the Volker neighborhood feel like they’re living in a port-a-potty.

You can smell the stench before even stepping into Joan Maxwell’s basement.

“If there’s a big rainstorm, the entire basement will flood and it’s a mixture of sewage and rainwater,” Maxwell told 41 Action News Tuesday.

For the last four months, she’s tried her best to deal with it. 

“Open windows, aromatherapy candles — that’s about all I can do at that point,” Maxwell said.

Back in July, a storm damaged the private sewer line that’s shared among four homes: Maxwell’s at 4017 Mercier, her next-door neighbor at 4019 Mercier, at 1224 W. 41st and at 1222 W. 41st where, according to the city, the break lies. 

Initially, it seemed like repairs were going to happen quickly.

“I offered to pay a portion of it, arrangement was made to have the repair made the following week and the homeowner said he would set it up, and I never heard anything about it. Then I started following up with him and haven’t been able to get anywhere,” Maxwell said.

Maxwell said three companies have shown up willing to do the work; one even marked up the utilities.

But nothing has been done. 

41 Action News wanted to know why, but no one came to the door at 1222 W. 41st. The homeowner didn’t answer his phone when we called.

Maxwell did call the city, which sent a Neighborhoods & Housing Services inspector on Monday.

“It’s unfortunate when neighbors don’t do the right thing,” John Baccala, a spokesperson for the KCMO Neighborhoods & Housing Services, said.

Because of the health hazard raw sewage poses, the homeowner at 1222 W. 41st Street now has two days to make the repairs or the city will do the work and send him a bill. 

There are others across the city in similar situations.

“In our department, maybe once or twice a month because usually, they don’t get this far, an issue like this is usually taken care of rather quickly,” Baccala said. 

A city inspector plans to visit 1222 W. 41st on Wednesday. If the repairs haven’t been made the water department will be called to send a crew out.