Sewage leak causes odor

Reported by Theresa Schmidt

Residents at the end of a major drainage canal in Lake Charles say it's ruining their quality of life. Residents complain of odors and alligators!

A major drainage canal in Oak Park keeps a lot of people from flooding when it rains. But on the east end at General Doolittle, the concrete stops. The water is scummy and there are odors as Evella Bellard explains: "it make me sick, I can't even stand it. My husband say how bad it is for him too. He's sneezing and having headaches."

The Bellards say it smells so bad they cannot enjoy their backyard. And they're worried about their health. One night Evella says she even went to the hospital. "I went to the emergency room because of the smell. It made me so sick. I didn't know what was wrong with me but I had to go because I wasn't feeling good at all."

But even worse are alligators. A huge one was captured this week. Evella, her daughter Ella and neighbor Margaret Charles are afraid there will be a tragedy.

Margaret Charles: "as big as those alligators are they could eat my grand babies anybody else's child in one bite." Ella Bellard: "kids are back there playing. Alligators are fast. They may look slow but they are fast, grab those children, they are gone. We walk out here one day and the alligator may be in the hard." Evella: "oh, I'm afraid. I'm afraid. Very much afraid."

They hope something can be done. Charles: "clean it out or close it up or whatever and get rid of those alligators."

City officials say there is a small sewage leak under the lateral that is causing odor problems. But a contractor will be repairing the line in the next few days, so odor relief should be on the way.

Drainage district superintendent Mike Wittler says it would reduce the effectiveness of the lateral to close it in, plus he says it would be cost prohibitive.

Wittler says they pump water from the canal regularly, so it's not stagnant.