Clay County homeowners flooded with raw sewage would like county's utility to help restore them

The Clay County Utility Authority says a nearby sewage treatment plant was overwhelmed by 15 inches of rain, which backed up into their homes.

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - During Hurricane Irma, seven houses and an in-ground swimming pool near Knight Boxx Road were flooded with raw sewage.

Andrew Leopard said his home is still uninhabitable.

"We had raw sewage, human feces and urine from the sewage system that failed," he said.

Clay County Utility Authority said it was not a failure, but that the system was overwhelmed.

Leopard said he has been living in a motel since it happened.

He remembers waking up to his entire home covered with the brown dirty water. It was in his tub, his sinks, everywhere.

"We had it over the base boards," he said, " they were covered with stuff."

Leopard said prior to the storm, he used sandbags to protect his home from water coming in, but he was not prepared for flooding from the inside.

"I don't know what I'm going to do," he said.

He wants the utility to help restore his home, but it is not that simple.

"We were hit very hard by the storm," said Jeremy Johnson, the Chief Operations Officer of Clay County Authority Utility. "But the system did not fail."

He said he saw the damage and filed claims on behalf of the homeowners with the utility's insurance company.

"I went to the homes and they definitely had sewage in their homes," he said. "It was due to the overwhelmed pipe network."

This week, the utility's insurance company denied the claims calling it an Act of God.

"It wasn't just one station, we had six stations that were inundated with water," Johnson said.

He said the utility is committed to its customers and has not forgotten those affected by Irma.

"We're trying to represent everybody, as well as help the individual homeowners that were affected," he said.

He said they're is working on a way to help Leopard and the others whose homes were flooded by raw sewage, but he couldn't say how soon.

"I can't live here," Leopard said. "It took about four gallons of bleach to get it to where it is, but it still stinks."

Johnson said that the benefits will be limited and it will involve a hold harmless clause. 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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