Angelina County health inspectors concerned about feces in front yards

Terry Free is the environmental director at the Angelina County and Cities Health District.
Terry Free is the environmental director at the Angelina County and Cities Health District.

ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - (KTRE) - Raw sewage is floating in yards where children play and contaminating the water you drink. Angelina County health inspectors are trying to track down a serious problem.

Complaints are coming in to the Angelina County and Cities Health District, but some homeowners are doing nothing to fix the problem.

There is human fecal matter, just feet from the front door of an Angelina County home.

"Instead of spending that little bit of time, little bit of money to make sure that the aerobic treatment system is functioning properly, they basically just opened the clean out and let raw sewage, raw feces, everything run out on top of the ground available for kids to play in, for pets to play in," said ACCHD Environmental Director Terry Free.

KTRE's calls to the property owner haven't been returned.

Free has taken him to court, but he said nothing has been done to fix the problem.

Back in November, KTRE followed Free as he was inspecting sewer complaints. Tuesday a news crew revisited some of those places.

One home had been fixed and a new system was installed.

"One more complaint we're able to close out of our office and move on to the next," said Free.

However, not everyone has made changes.

"Waste has to go somewhere when you flush the toilet, unfortunately it just doesn't go away," Free said.

An E.coli sample from a pipe in one yard, running off raw sewage into a creek, tested positive for 450,000 parts per million of E.coli. Just a tiny fraction of that is enough to make someone sick."

The man the health department has been contacting told KTRE he's not the property owner, he said he finances the property. But, he's listed as the legal owner.

According to the man, they're working with a judge and the current residents to fix the system.

"We are sympathetic to understanding that you know when people have to put in septic systems, it does cost money," said Free.

However, he said it becomes a public health concern when the sewage is contaminating a neighbors' yard and the community's water sources.

The bottom line is an existing home's septic system is fine as long as it's working properly.

If it malfunctions and sewage comes to the surface of the ground, it must be upgraded to a licensed septic system that meets state requirements.

These are only three cases. Free said there are many more complaints to investigate.

Violators can be fined as much as $500 a day.

If you're not sure about your septic system, call the Angelina County and Cities Health District for help.

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