Sewage crisis in Bloomingdale after Irma - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Sewage crisis in Bloomingdale after Irma

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)
BLOOMINGDALE, GA (WTOC) -

Bloomingdale leaders are making desperate pleas to Georgia Power to restore electricity to their residents as soon as possible, and it's more than just to get the lights back on.

Around 180 homes there use grinder sewage pumps, which are electric. Without those pumps up and running, raw sewage either backs up into homes or is dumped out into the environment.

"We have an economic and an environmental issue here in Bloomingdale, and we really need to be looked at, before people start getting sick or it gets even worse," said Mayor Ben Rozier.

We're also hearing from Bloomingdale residents who say they've been without power since Monday afternoon.

"Of course you try to go somewhere else if you have to use the bathroom and all, but that's the big thing. You can't take a shower, you can't do anything like that," said Billy Strozier, Former Mayor.

Bloomingdale Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director Ferman Tyler knows it's a tall order asking residents not to use those utilities that most still have even when the power goes out. 

"That's a lot to ask, but that's basically the only thing we can do from our end, is not to use it. Because every time they use it, they're pushing raw sewage into the yard. And that's going to be a nightmare because now we're going to have to come back and clean it up," said Ferman Tyler, Bloomingdale Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director. 

City leaders say Georgia Power is aware of their dilemma, but because of wide-spread outages in larger cities like Savannah, they're low on the restoration priority list. 

Bloomingdale residents say it's more of a concern than just being without lights and air conditioning.

"The number of bacteria we're talking about. Because if you can't flush, it's gonna back up," said Cathy Cribbs, worried about health impacts caused by the outage.

"If we start flushing our waste it backs right up into our sump pumps and into our yards. And although we're not doing it, I'm sure there's residents that are doing it right now. And today it's not a health problem but tomorrow it will be," said James Moore, Bloomingdale resident, without power.

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