Irvington family says city is to blame for sewage backing up into basement

IRVINGTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- It's a situation that really stinks for a family in New Jersey.

Backed up sewage is flooding their basement in their home in the Essex County Town of Irvington.

They say it's happened before and say it's the city's fault, but the city says that's not what they found.

"Feces, everything backed up from the sewer is in my basement," said Mabel Johnson, a homeowner.

Johnson says calling this a nightmare is an understatement.

The stench of human fecal matter is enough to make anyone gag.

"My blood pressure is way up, high blood pressure and stress that comes along with it, because I can't see myself living in this filth," Johnson said.

The sewer backup started Saturday at Johnson's home on Isabella Avenue in Irvington.

Some of Eyewitness News' video too graphic to show you, so just use your imagination.

"The scent is very high and when the heat is down there and the scent rises it's like living in hell," said Paul Campbell, a resident.

Johnson says she had four feet of water after Hurricane Irene, and just before Superstorm Sandy the city took preventative measures by cleaning the system.

She says that worked like a charm.

"If Sandy was such a bad hurricane, especially in Jersey and the sewer system was clean, I had no water at all," Johnson said.

Now Johnson is waiting for a private company to come in the morning, but she believes the solution is on the municipal side.

"They told me it's not their fault because their water system is low, so it's not their fault for my basement to be flooded, but I just can't get any help," Johnson said.

A Department of Public Works spokesperson says a crew came Saturday.

They found that the problem is between the main and the home so it's the responsibility of the homeowner.

Ms. Johnson says she will fight this one.
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