Ocean Springs Residents In A Stinky Situation - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/18/02

Ocean Springs Residents In A Stinky Situation

Pam Siegel and her family moved here from Atlanta a little over two years ago.

"We found this house when it was just being framed and we did walk back here in our backyard and we loved the size of the backyard and the front yard there was some water in the backyard. The builder and I joked that our house should be costing more because it was waterfront property Ha Ha. It was a joke," Siegel said.

But no one is laughing now.

Pam along with a few of her neighbors in the Ocean Beach Estates have swamps for backyards, complete with raw sewage and insects.

"I've never seen so many snakes in a residential area. Like it is right now. I don't know if these people have seen them but I've come within a foot and a half of getting bit by a moccasin and that's too close," one neighbor said.

It's not a new sight. It's been happening after every rainfall for the past two years. But it was a mistake-one for which no one is claiming responsibility.

"It's obvious that this was a frog pond, crawfish pond, gum pond whatever you call it for years and years and years, and it just dried up over the drought that we had over the past three years and now that we're having constant rain, the frog pond is back again," said county supervisor John McKay.

But by the looks of the documents McKay held in his hands, it wasn't obvious to the health department or the engineering system that put their seal of approval on installing septic tanks in what is clearly a wetland.

"I have four kids and I can't wash their clothes because of my septic problems because of the drainage out here. What do they have to do? They have to use the bathroom at school before they come home," said another neighbor.

Their children also have to play in the streets.

"I feel very victimized for the first time in my life and somebody has to claim responsibility besides the homeowners," said neighbor Marcy Cohoon.

And as storm clouds roll in, it leaves neighbors to wonder...What next?

According to John McKay, the only solution is to install a sewer system. But the problem is that it's going to take years to get it installed because these estates are privately funded.

The temporary solution is to work with the landowners to give them drainage easements by digging ditches to drain the pond, which could take about a month or two.

But it all depends on the landowners and their cooperation.

By Karla Redditte

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