Residents at Belt Atlantic Apartments: Raw sewage has backed up onto property for weeks

Updated: Mar. 1, 2020 at 6:49 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Residents at the Belt Atlantic apartment complex in south Richmond called 12 On Your Side after they say, raw sewage backed up onto the property, for weeks.

Sunday, the sewage flooded the lawn and the back parking lot area of the apartment complex formerly known as the Midlothian Village apartments. Residents say the smell of the raw sewage was pungent.

“The smell is horrendous,” said housing advocate Tracey Hardney-Scott.

Residents say the issue has been ongoing for three weeks.

"It's feces, urine…" said six-year resident Lasharnda Moatt.

Residents could be seen holding their noses, as a small crowd of tenants and housing advocates gathered in the parking lot, making calls to management.

“The scene here is unbelievable... toilet tissue, human waste,” continued Hardney-Scott.

Moatt said she complained to the on-site property managers weeks ago, but maintains that they weren’t much help.

“They said that it was the responsibility of the city," said Moatt.

After calls into the mayor’s office from upset residents, city utility crews confirmed Sunday that the problem wasn’t with city lines.

The debacle comes after developer Community Preservation Partners bought the embattled Midlothian Village in 2018. The new owners completed a $13 million upgrade of the property, renaming it Belt Atlantic.

Residents say there has been an improvement, but this flooding has been a major setback.

“Disappointed with the residence because it’s not something that just happened. It’s ongoing,” added Moatt, who said the property also flooded with sewage over the summer.

Seth Gellis, a representative for Community Preservation partners, said management was first made aware of the backup this week. He said maintenance crews worked twice to clear the lines, but evidently the problem wasn’t fixed and needed more in-depth work.

Gellis said plumbers determined Sunday that special equipment will be needed to reach further down into the pipes. They worked to clear the immediate mess and will resume more detailed work Monday.

He also said that maintenance crews will now be jetting the pipes four times a year, instead of biannually.

Gellis said they’ll be reaching out to residents on what not to flush down the toilet or drains.

“We’re going to be monitoring that to definitely make sure the management does whatever is necessary to remedy this situation,” said Tracey Hardney-Scott.

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