Gautier Residents Say Sewer System Stinks

Gloria Young says a manhole cover near her home boils over every time it rains. But Young says the problem doesn't end after the rain falls because the drains are clogged. A piece of toilet paper hanging out of the manhole lingers from the last rain.

"Trash comes up in it and it stays here and something needs to be done," Young said.

Alice Johnson has owned her home for over seven years and says she doesn't remember a time when there wasn't a sewer problem in the neighborhood.

"Sewer just boils out of the manhole and comes out into the yards and the ditches. It's just a sickening mess," she said.

More than six houses in the neighborhood are dealing with the problem. Most claim they've complained to city officials. But say when the city comes they dig holes in the middle of their yards and put bleach in ditches. Residents say that's just adding to the problem.

Young said, "If they had to come out here and smell it every morning, they'd want something to done. Something has to be done."

Resident Theda Keepers says she can't even sit on her front porch because the smell from the raw sewage in her front yard is so strong. Other neighbors like Johnson agree.

"I live here in Gautier and work in Biloxi and it takes all the way to Ocean Springs to get the smell out of my car and windows haven't even been open," Johnson said.

Residents think one problem is how fast the city is growing. New neighborhoods like the one behind Johnson's home may be adding to the problem.

"We know there's a lot of growth," Johnson said. "And the sewer is just not big enough, I don't think to handle all the new developments. They'd love to go outside and sit on their porch and enjoy their yard and stuff and they can't do it."

The utility district recently switched from the Gautier Utility District to the City of Gautier. Residents hope the new district will help solve the problem. Residents have also contacted the health department, the Department for Environmental Quality for the state of Mississippi and the city manager's office.

By Jennifer Holliman