City steps in as residents clear sewage from apartments

Posted at: 07/07/2014 6:28 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

After KOB Eyewitness News 4 reported backed up raw sewage flowed into renter's homes at a Northeast Heights apartment complex, the city of Albuquerque took action.

The Safe City Strike Force investigated complaints at the Arioso Apartments at Northeast Heights after residents experienced sewage leaks on Sunday.

Residents said they have experienced problems with backed up sewage on and off for a while, and now, it was spilling out of toilets and tubs and onto carpet.

The city's investigation discovered that some residents committed vandalism by flushing t-shirts and rocks down the toilet.

“They need to be aware that that’s simply for human waste disposal and that’s it,” Safe City Strike Force supervisor Andy Leyba said.

The city’s environmental department said sewage exposure is a serious health hazard.

“There’s all kinds of different organisms and illnesses that can be associated with bacteria,” epidemiologist Hal Senke said.

Senke said it can be to blame for cases of staphylococcus, salmonella and E. Coli. His priority was to talk to the apartment about making sure any future issues with sewage are dealt with immediately.

“Management and the city have responded appropriately and they seem to be doing everything both immediately and for the longer term,” Senke said. “They seem to be on target with their response.”

Leyba echoed the sentiment.

“Right now everything seems to be doing in the right direction. As you were able to see they have hired a company to vacuum, steam and sanitize the carpets. I understand they will be doing it to each individual apartment that was affected,” Leyba said.