Detroit senior citizen claims neighbor is dumping raw sewage in backyard of home

‘It’s unsanitary and unacceptable,’ Scott says

Detroit man claims neighbor is dumping raw sewage in his own backyard
Detroit man claims neighbor is dumping raw sewage in his own backyard

DETROIT – A local man said city officials wouldn’t help when he complained about his neighbor dumping raw sewage into the back yard.

“They have rigged up some kind of situation where when they flush the toilet, it will come out into the yard,” Leo Scott said. “That is unsanitary.”

A spokesperson for the city of Detroit told the Local 4 Defenders they have no record of Scott’s complaint in December and that city officials are going through calls and messages to figure out where the miscommunication happened.

Scott, 75, is typically busy taking care of his wife inside their Birwood Street home. He said she needs 24/7 care.

In early December, Scott went outside trying to figure out where a nasty smell was coming from and discovered raw sewage was being dumped through a PVC pipe.

“I don’t know them. I don’t talk to them, but this has got to be eradicated. Something needs to be done about that sewage leaking into the backyard,” Scott said. “Eventually it is going to spread to my yard.”

Scott said he called to complain and was referred to property management.

“I’ve called but I’ve only gotten recordings,” Scott said. “I kept calling. My daughter called.”

Scott said he finally got a call back from the city on Dec. 16 and was told an inspector would get in touch with him.

No one got in touch with him, so he called the Local 4 Defenders.

Within hours of the Defenders contacting the city, an inspector -- along with Detroit police officers -- arrived to address the problem. No one answered the door, but the inspector did leave an emergency correction order.

Scott hopes the mess will be cleaned up soon.

“Sewage will bring rats and mice,” Scott said. “That is a very big concern as well. We don’t need that in the community. We really don’t.”

City officials said the neighbors told them the plumbing issues started in September and they simply didn’t have the money to fix the situation at the time. The city said if the pumping of sewage does not stop immediately, they will be fined $500.

If you have a similar problem, you can report it to Detroit’s Buildings, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department at 313-628-2451.

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About the Authors:

Karen Drew is the anchor of Local 4 News First at 4, weekdays at 4 p.m. She is also an award-winning investigative reporter and part of the Local 4 Defenders team.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.