Deadly Insects, Raw Sewage Infest Neighborhood - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/23/05-Smith County

Deadly Insects, Raw Sewage Infest Neighborhood

"This is mold and feces," Neda Derosier said, pointing to an area underneath her trailer home. "It's disgusting. That's nasty."

Derosier says she and her neighbors have been surrounded by raw sewage since February. They have to watch their kids when they play outside to make sure the little ones do not step into the wrong areas.

"It's making my whole trailer fall apart," Derosier said.

Landlord Kevin Phillips says he has fixed the leaking septic tanks multiple times but has offered no permanent solution.

"People kind of forget that we don't have fences up," he said. "Do not drive around the trailers because you will go over the septics. So this past Saturday, I had the guy come out there and reseal it," Phillips said.

"This an age-old problem in our county and in lots of counties," Brenda Elrod, environmental health director for the Northeast Texas Public Health District, said.

The office has investigated the problem and cited the landlord for health code violations. Elrod says Phillips failed to get a permit for his septic systems.

"The waste water, the fluid that surfaces out of that system can have bacteria in it," she said. "Plus, it's a wet medium that would allow for mosquito-breeding."

When Derosier uses her kitchen sink, the water and everything else pours out of her house, adding to the sewage already underneath.

"You can see all the way to the outside of the house, where this is rotted," Derosier said, pointing to a large gap in her bathroom floor.

Her neighbor, Carla Urbanczyk, has the same problems. The cracks and holes in both of their trailers have invited deadly insects like centipedes and scorpions into their homes.

"We put this one in a jar to show our landlord the next time he comes over because he didn't believe that we had scorpions," Urbanczyk said, holding a jar with a dead scorpion inside. "And he didn't want to do anything about it."

The two families say they're thinking about moving, if things don't change.

Constable Dale Geddie says Phillips is a wanted man. Geddie says authorities have been looking for him for a month.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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