Virginia woman says neighborhood sewage ‘exploded’ in her home


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A Richmond woman got a smelly surprise in her home Friday.

Adele Muhammad said Friday afternoon she wanted to wash her hands before getting something to eat. “And, when I walked in the bathroom my foot slipped and I grabbed the doorknob and I looked and I said, ‘what in the world is going on?'”she recalled.

Muhammad lives on Minefee Street in Richmond and she said her toilet backed up with neighborhood sewage after crews were flushing out a sewer line in front of her house Friday.

“They told me it was from flushing the sewer,” she said. “It all gushed back up into the toilet and it all exploded out all over my bathroom. It looked like blue snow because I had a burgundy shower curtain that was blue and white and the commode was blue. “And plus, the slush that was on the floor it was just slimy like I said I almost fell.

“It smelled like 500 port-a-potties that haven’t been changed in a month.”

The Richmond woman said two workers did come to her home, but she did not get any satisfaction.

“They went in and looked and they came back out and we were standing right here and he said they’re not going to do no clean up, and I said, ‘you’re not?’ and he said, ‘all you have to do is wipe it down.'” said a disappointed Muhammad.

After waiting hours to hear from the city of Richmond, Muhammad, who is disabled, eventually cleaned up the mess on her own using various cleaners. She said she is obsessed with cleanliness. Her house is small, modest and very neat.

In the meantime, city officials said “blow-backs” happen sometimes and there was some miscommunication between Muhammad and members of the city’s Department of Public Utilities. The city plans on communicating with her, but in the meantime, the Richmond woman said she just wants her shower curtains and bathroom rugs replaced, as well as an apology.Sewage backups costing the taxpayer thousands

Media General contributor Kerri O’Brien discovered sewage backups in the city happen probably more than most of us would like to think about, and the damage is costing taxpayers plenty.

O’Brien combed over the city’s liability claims for the last three years and found the City of Richmond has had to shell out more than $100,000 ($100,652.74) in damages for sewer backup’s and blockage. The damages range from overflow in a master bedroom to sewage backups in a church basement and kitchen to damage to an apartment complex.

One sewer back up, in a basement in 2013, cost taxpayers nearly $32,000 ($31,852.25) in damages.

City officials couldn’t tell us what the problem is, whether it’s carelessness, old sewer lines or maintenance. We can see in many cases there was tree or root blockage in the sewer lines.

If this should ever happen to you. You can file a claim with the city. The claims are processed through the City Attorney’s office. You want to document everything, take photos of the damage and make sure you keep receipts of any repairs.

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