ATLANTA, Ga. – The smell alone is enough to make you sick to your stomach. But the raw sewage spillage running like a babbling brook inside an Atlanta apartment complex is also a health concern.
Tenants told 11Alive that there has been a raw sewage leak at Harmony Plaza II Apartments, located at 1870 Myrtle Dr., SW, for months—between buildings where kids play, and now pushing its way into the parking lot.
And complaints have gone unanswered.
One mother, who did not want to give her name for fear of retaliation, said her breathing issue is exacerbated by the stench—especially with the pungent humidity.
“It smells like waste. A lot of waste,” she said. “I have a breathing issue so it's a lot.”
“Kids could get sick. And there be little kids out there playing too. That's not good,” she continued.
It’s a health risk and it should be immediately cleaned up, according to Ellis Jones, Environmental Health Services director, with the Fulton County Health Department.
“Anytime you have a liquid or solid waste on the ground, it's a very bad problem but if you have human feces, any type of microorganisms and illnesses can quickly develop. And that's the worst thing to have on the ground.
You need to clean it up immediately.”
“It’s been there long enough to have the sun hit it and for it to start to grow—long enough for parasites to start growing,” he confirmed.
After phone calls from 11Alive Wednesday, the apartment complex spread lime across the complex to mask and neutralize the odor. Investigators also assessed the situation, giving management notice of their legal obligation to fix the issue.
“A lot of times it's a temporary because of back up in an apartment for sewage backing into the bathroom. So, a lot time the clean out valve will be unscrewed and it's on to the ground to get it fixed. But it should be fixed immediately.”
The department has given the complex two days to solve the matter.
“They immediately get a legal notice which is similar to a warning to fix it, clean it up and eradicate the whole situation. Now, if they don't do that and we show back up and they don't adhere to the legal notice, we can take them to court,” Jones said.
This isn’t the first time that complaints have been made. In fact, there have been five complaints for code violations in the past three years, according to the Atlanta Police Department’s Code Enforcement, including at least two complaints of cockroach and bed bug investigation and mold.
All recorded complaints were either unfounded or corrected, according to the APD’s reports.
Code Enforcement will be investigating the scene Thursday.
The management at the apartment complex was unable to be reached for comment.
If you have a similar issue, call the Fulton County Health Department's complaint hotline, at (404) 613-1303.