A house of sewage

April 10, 2009 3:24:55 AM PDT
A family has been unable to use their own bathrooms for an entire week due to problems with city sewer lines. It's a stinky, smelly situation that got so bad they had to go to their neighbor's home to use the bathroom. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The family called the city for help last week, but nothing was fixed. That was until Thursday. Crews say it all had to do with a broken line.

The family's home is near High Meadow and Westerland in west Houston. It's not your average home plumbing problem.

"We can't use the toilet, we can't wash dishes, we can't wash clothes, we can't take showers," said Kristen Boesenberg.

Boesenberg and her family haven't had a working sewage system for more than a week. When the problem first began, they called a private company only to discover that it's a city problem.

"I've called the city repeatedly, and they're like, well, it depends on our workload and what priority we are, we'll get somebody out," said Boesenberg.

So we called the city. It turns out the problem wasn't in Boesenberg's backyard, but at a house a block away. Crews came shortly after we began asking questions.

"I'm still in the investigation part. I'm still looking to see what they're doing," said Michael Grayson of the City of Houston.

The city says sewer problems pop up all over town and response time depends on severity, and how many other lines need fixing at the time. This particular line is six feet below ground and getting it repaired would take hours. Despite that prognosis, relief was in sight.

"I'm excited, that it will be hopefully coming back," said Boesenberg.

After a week of borrowing the neighbor's bathrooms, indoor plumbing is becoming a reality again.

"I can assure you that before we leave here today, it will be done," said Grayson.

The crew has installed temporary pipes and dug up the backyard. Everything should be fixed in an hour or so.

It's important to remember that as temperatures heat up, you're likely to see more sewer and water main breaks in older neighborhoods in Houston.

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