Raw sewage backs up in Seminole condos

Article and Video Courtesy of Channel 10 News Tampa

By Kendra Conlon

Published April 17, 2015



The living situation stinks for people at a Bay area condo complex. Raw sewage has been flooding their homes since Saturday.


People living at the Villa Milan condos, on 77th Terrace in Seminole, reached out to 10 News for help wondering why it's taking so long to stop the sewage.

"It's nasty. It's horrible. You can't smell anything, but raw sewage," says one Villa Milan condo owner.

Residents are cleaning up, airing out, and ripping out bags of carpet soaked by sewage.

"It was a mess," says Jeffrey Bethell.


Bethell and a half-dozen others discovered their first tub-full of sewage Saturday. Since then, it's been a vicious cycle of mopping up, only to be flooded again.
"This morning was the 5th time I saw it. I vacuumed it and mopped it. We've been running Shop Vacs," says Bethell. "The first couple of floods, that's acceptable. This last one this morning was the worst," Bethell says.


After 10 News called Pinellas County, utility workers came out to check the pipe. Crews tell 10 News that the problem isn't with the county transmission line, but the condos private pipes to the buildings.
"I just wish it would've been stopped before I got this bad," says Bethell.

Qualified Property Management tells 10 News that it had plumbers out, but couldn't fix the seeping sewage. Workers had to wait to turn off the water to all 140 units Monday to make repairs.


Bethell's tub is still full. He worries what will happen when other residents start running their water. "I think this is a bigger health issue than not having water," says Bethell.
For now, Bethell feels his home just isn't a safe place to stay. "I have a 7-year-old daughter, and she's staying at my mom's until I get it all cleaned up," Bethell says.
The HOA and condo owners are sorting out who will pay for the cleanup and damages.
Most homeowner and business insurance policies do not cover sewer backup unless that specific coverage is added to the policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.). "Obtaining an insurance rider on a homeowners or business policy would cover such damage if it occurs," said Loretta Worters, vice president, of the Insurance Information Institute.