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Sewage Overflow Seeps Into South End Homes

Residents Say MDC Response To Repeated Problems Has Been Slow

By MAGDALENE PEREZ, Courant Staff Writer

October 13, 2007

The first time black sewage flooded Carlton Rogers' Hartford condo, he pulled up the carpet and walked on nail-riddled concrete floors for a year.

The second time, his water-logged antique bed broke in half.

After the third time, he gave up carpets entirely and spent $7,000 to install wood floors.

On Thursday night Rogers and more than a half-dozen other Franklin Avenue-area residents relived the nightmare. In Rogers' ground-level home in the Maple Avenue Mews, an inch of sewage oozed across the living room, kitchen and bedroom floors.

After the four sewage overflows caused by heavy rains in less than 10 years, the total bill for cleaning, disinfecting and replacing furniture has come to $20,000.

The discharge at homes in the Franklin Avenue area prompted calls to the Metropolitan District Commission Thursday night, MDC spokesman Matt Nozzolio said. Nozzolio said Friday that the agency has been doing the best it can to respond to such incidents.

Despite years of repeated problems, however, the agency's $800 million plan to overhaul the Hartford region's sewer system is still in the planning stages. The so-called Clean Water Project is not scheduled to get off the ground until 2009, he said.

"We will be continuing to work to alleviate those situations," Nozzolio said.

Meanwhile, Rogers said Friday, "I don't know who's going to pick up the tab on the cleaning right now. They said this wouldn't happen again."

Three condos in Maple Avenue Mews were flooded Thursday night, but rather than wait for a response from the MDC, condo association President Sean Arena said he called in cleaners before midnight.

"We ordered the cleaners ourselves," Arena said, "If I had called the MDC we would have waited a week."

The MDC worked with the condo association about two years ago to install back flow devices intended to prevent sewage water from surfacing in residents' homes. At that point, Arena said, he believed the problem would be solved.

"It's a nightmare. A total nightmare," Arena said. "They've been working on it now for 6 years. They have the pace of a snail."

Both Arena and Rogers complained that the MDC has been slow to respond to sewage problems at city addresses.

"I felt that we were just totally neglected by the city," Rogers said.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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