Homeowner blames pond for sewage standoff - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Homeowner blames pond for sewage standoff

^ Gary Brown ^ Gary Brown
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December 4, 2002

Coffee County-- By most accounts the Browns have a lovely home in Baymeadows Estates. It features 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and one outhouse.

"This is it, that seat gets kind of cold at 5:00," Gary Brown said.

Why are the Browns using a port-a-pottie? They say it's because their septic system has been backing up ever since a neighbor built a pond across the street last year.

"When it's filled we get water. This is pretty dry right now for what we normally get," Gary Brown said.

We talked to the man who built the pond and he said there's no proof it's to blame for his neighbors troubles. They have problems showering, washing clothes and dishes, and of course using the restroom. "Usually I try to do it in the dark so nobody sees me, it's embarrassing, this is a nice neighborhood," Brown said.

A neighborhood where the Browns want to stay, and really don't have an option of moving. The family of five next door keeps dropping their price but can't sell, and real estate agents say the same would happen to the Browns.

So for the past sixteen months they've vowed to fight the pond. "We've contacted [the Army] Corps of Engineers, EPA, EPD, Dept. of Natural Resources. Everybody is passing the buck," Brown said.

All the responses, read the same. "Nobody is helping us, we've talked to everybody," Karen Brown said. The Health Department acknowledges the water tables have changed, but like everyone else they aren't sure why and says it's not their job to figure out that out.

The Browns are now facing a civil lawsuit against their neighbor they say they can't afford to fight, and another Christmas with out a visit from their grandchildren. "All because of our toilets," Brown said.

In Coffee County they don't have a pond construction ordinance, but are now considering passing one. The health Department won't be issuing any new septic tank permits for the vacant parcels of land surrounding the pond in question.

You should call your county's code enforcement office to check on ordinances before making any changes to your property.

posted at 4:00PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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