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Tenants have had enough of landlord dumping stinky sewage out in the open

Posted at 5:55 PM, Dec 29, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 17:55:21-05

Something stinks way out west of Cleveland in Erie County, and what's causing the smell could land one landlord behind bars. 


"He pretty much disposes the sewage of his own will rather than hiring a septic company to come out and take care of the sewage," said tenant Taylor Dougherty. 


Fed up with the stench and possible health hazard, Dougherty called authorities to report his landlord.


"Normally [he] comes up and just takes the sewage and just dumps it around the trees as fertilizer," said Dougherty. "Anytime we bring it up to him he just brings up the fact that farmers do it on their crops, and I tell him all that is controlled by the FDA." 


Dougherty says his apartment and a few other homes on that block are on septic tank system. Other landlords and home owners in the area hire a company to get rid of sewage, but Dougherty says his landlord does it on his own right in his backyard. 


"It smells like straight sewer because of the sewage that runs right down the driveway into the drain, and that's all you smell during the summers," he said. 


The Erie County Health Department is getting involved because it fears the sewage could contaminate ground water and surface water. 


"The health department has provided some reports and some other information for us. The matter was referred to the local law enforcement -- Perkins Police Department," said Erie County assistant prosecutor Mark Smith. 


Smith says the county has not decided yet if it will criminally charge the landlord or not.


"This is something new for myself as well as the other attorneys in the office. We have done some research and seen that other jurisdictions or counties have had this type of issue before, so that does provide a blueprint for how we would potentially pursue the matter," he said. 


News 5 visited the landlord's home and called him, but we could not reach him.

Dougherty says this just might be his last straw.


"We're pretty much done living there now, we're pretty much in the middle of looking for a new place," he said.