Largo officials settle with families after workers flood homes with raw sewage

Largo sewage issue

LARGO, Fla. (WFLA) – Two Largo families are getting closer to having their homes restored, after city workers accidentally flooded the houses with three inches of raw sewage.

The accident happened Aug. 11, and this week, Largo’s city commission approved a more than $130,000 settlement for the families. The city had already spent $42,200 on hotel and cleanup costs.

The house in the worst shape is owned by Laura Ball and her husband. Ball turned to 8 On Your Side in early September, saying she felt forgotten by the city. Now, she’s happy the settlement was approved so reconstruction can begin.

“I’m glad to be done with the city,” Ball said. “I’m glad to be done with the bureaucracy of that.”

The sewage problem was the result of city of Largo employees testing sewer mains. Raw sewage spilled in the Ball’s home and the house next door. The city immediately put both families in a hotel and started remediation to clean up the houses. In the case of the home owned by the Balls, walls were torn apart.

Susan Sinz, the director of Largo’s human resources department, says city workers feel terrible about what happened to the homes and hope the settlement helps make things right.

Sinz says the city takes full responsibility for what happened. City workers checked lines and when a problem occurred, they discovered a manhole was higher than the homes and the sewage flowed into the houses. Sinz insists the city is working to prevent this from happening again.

“Environmental services is taking a very close look at topography levels and where the manhole rests as opposed to the property,” she said.

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