Inside Stella Berymon’s home, all you can hear is the sound of fans and all you can smell is the stench of bleach. It’s been this way for the past two weeks.
“I just wanted to croak. I didn’t know which way to go,” the 70-year-old told 41 Action News.
Two weeks ago, Berymon and two of her neighbors found themselves standing in three feet of water and more - raw sewage.
“Raw sewage just came out of nowhere,” said Nancy Dalton, who lives across the street. “I didn’t even want to go down [to the basement] after I found out what it was.”
WATCH: See how the sewage backup flooded a Belton home in the video below, courtesy Nancy Dalton. (On a mobile device and can't see it? Watch it here.)
The neighbors called the city of Belton. Crews responded, unplugged the line and cleaned it so the sewer could drain properly.
The root of the problem, according to the city, was a tree root that grew into a neighboring service line and into the public system, backing it up.
“When it grows up in the service lines, you can’t tell until it is too late,” said Jeff Fisher, the director of public works for the city of Belton.
Berymon and Dalton told 41 Action News they have been stuck with the bills trying to clean up the mess and are still waiting for the city’s insurance company to approve their claims.
41 Action News went to City Hall to find answers.
Fisher said the city’s insurance company is still investigating. However, he said, the city is not responsible for service lines. Neighbors are responsible.
"Service lines are private responsibility, so keeping those clean and clear of debris is their responsibility. Tree roots are common, there are trees up and down the commodore,” Fisher said. “And then wipes, fats, oils and grease and things put in their sink every day back up in that tree root and cause the problem. When you get the heavy rains, it rears its ugly heads.”
Ariel Rothfield can be reached at Ariel.Rothfield@KSHB.com.