VILLAGE OF LANCASTER, N.Y. -- Five homeowners have been cleaning up after raw sewage backed up into their basements last week, and they believe work being done by the village is to blame.
The residents live near the corner of Richmond and Oxford, which is near Como Park Elementary School.
Last week, village crews used a jet pump to clear out a blockage in the sewer lines. Sharon Zimpfer says that's when the sewage backed into her basement.
"It was awful," she said of the smell. "It was just like you're imagining."
Across the street, the same thing happened in the basement of Cindy Schuler. She was in Florida attending a funeral, and didn't know of the problem for days.
"You could smell it as soon as you walked up my sidewalk to the back of my house," Schuler said. "I didn't even have to open my doors."
The families lost thousands of dollars in possessions and have spent even more on professional cleanup crews from Rochester.
They believe their sewage problems are a direct result of the village work. But George Miller, general crew chief with the Department of Public Works, disagreed. He said the homes are on different main lines, making it more likely that the problem was with the lines that are the responsibility of the homeowners.
2 On Your Side asked Miller how it could be just a coincidence that this would happen to 5 homes at the same time as the crews were using the jet pump.
"I can't explain that," he said.
The DPW is hiring an outside company to come in and put a camera down into the pipes to figure out what happened.
"They will be up here filming all the sewers, and we will film their laterals and we'll let them know what's going on," Miller said.
The neighbors just want assurances that this won't happen again. They'll be at Monday night's village board meeting hoping to get answers.
"My losses are my losses. They're gone," Schuler said. "I don't want to have to go through this again, and I don't want any of my neighbors to have to go through this again."