The problem worsens as septic fields fail and raw sewage appears in front of several homes in the neighborhood
White Lake, MI – Susan Downey is a single, self-employed homeowner working hard to maintain a home in a neighborhood with a serious water problem. She has done some research and discovered that there is a way to fix the problem but local government authorities refuse to spend the money. A de-watering system could be installed but no one will take the responsibility.
Susan has contacted the Oakland County Road Commission (OCRC) to inquire about fixing the leaching system in front of several homes where standing water is present. Heavy rain has added to the problem as it has brought raw sewage into the picture. Someone on higher ground has a failing septic system that has got into an old abandoned storm drain that ends in front of homes on lower ground. The Oakland County Health Department has responded and performed dye tests on homes in the area, and the investigation is still in progress.
sewage problem began at the home on 5060 Lake Grove, the street behind Susan’s home. The homeowner though he would solve the problem by filling in the ditch in front of his home with dirt and cinder blocks. “I understand the abandoned drain that runs through a vacated alley discharges there,” said Downey. “His filling in the ditch resulted in sending the raw sewage through the system to my next door neighbor’s home. When another neighbor, who does not want to be named, called the OCRC, they sent someone out to look at it and the guy (from the OCRC) said there was nothing wrong with the homeowner filling in the ditch! I was under the impression that we were not supposed to tamper with their (failing) leaching system!”
Susan purchased her home in the summer of 2008 and soon noticed a problem that she has not seen before. Sure, water will fill the ditch for a short time after a rainstorm, but it should drain away within a reasonable amount of time. When she called the Oakland County Road Commission they said it was not their problem unless it caused a hazard to the road. White Lake Township offices also deny responsibility.
Her next step was to call her area County Commissioner, Jim Runestad. At first, he appeared sympathetic and made some calls, but was unable to provide a solution. Susan spoke to him again in the spring of this year (2013) and he said that he has met with the OCRC and they claim that there is nothing they can do to help. He also informed Downey that the neighborhood used to be swamp land with a high water table and that the developers should have never been given permits to build homes there!
“I wonder who the developers had to pay off to get the permits!” Susan said. “I realize this was over 40 years ago when the homes were built and the actual person may not be in office any more, but some authority is responsible. My home should have never been built! And now there are serious health issues with mosquitoes in standing water and raw sewage!”
The Oakland County Road Commission and White Lake Township deny responsibility and the County Commissioner, Jim Runestad cannot help either. Susan and area homeowners just want to know who can help. “The OCRC says they do not have the funds to fix the problem,” said Downey. “So, what if I don’t have the funds to pay my property taxes? Could I just say, sorry, no money, and get away with it?
Who is responsible for handling the standing water problem? Who has the authority? Susan just wants answers. Visit http://www.theoaklandcountyroadcommission.com/ to learn more and see pictures.
About Susan Downey: Susan Downey is a White Lake homeowner and tax payer. She and her neighbors are concerned with a problem that has plagued them for years. They have contacted the township and the county, OCRC, Oakland County Health Department, and County Commissioner, Jim Runestad about the problem and have been unable to obtain a satisfactory solution.