Trenton woman fights sewage woes with city

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TRENTON, IL (KPLR) – A sewage nightmare for an Illinois woman.

Christa Schott of Trenton said sewage waste had been piling up in her back yard for years, but she never knew until this past November.

"There was gray water out in the ditch and the city came and said, ‘It's your problem, there's a sewer issue, and you'll have to get it fixed,’" she said.

Schott said she hired a plumber, who had to dig a massive hole in her backyard.

"And they discovered there was a missing sewer line," she said. "The sewage was going in my alley and the plumber told me, ‘Your alley looks like a septic tank.’"

Schott said city officials came out and surveyed the area, part of which is city property documented, and told her that they would get back to her. But Schott said that they never contacted her.

"No one returned my phone calls," she said.

Schott said that she continued to reach out and even showed up to several city council meetings including held most recently on May 8.

Schott said she eventually hired an attorney, who sent the city a letter asking to address the issue.

"They received that letter months ago and they were just avoiding me," she went on to say.

Schott said that she's out nearly $8,000 after paying the plumber in addition to sewer bills that she said she had been paying monthly, for a service that she said, she never had.

"I never went up to city hall to ask for anything, but to pay my bills and do what I'm supposed to do and the one time I have a concern they just want to ignore, deny and avoid," she said.

In a statement to KPLR 11, city administrator Douglas Brimm said:

"The City of Trenton is aware of Mrs. Schott’s issue; however, the City denies any wrongdoing in this particular circumstance regarding her sewer service.

"Unfortunately, as Mrs. Schott has retained legal counsel, I am unable to go into any greater detail."

Schott said that she put in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, asking for all documentation the city has in regards to her sewer issue.

Schott said she is planning to attend another council meeting on May 22.

KPLR 11 also reached out to Mayor Kyle Jones via email. The Mayor responded to our request for comment after our story aired on Wednesday night. In the statement he said:

"At this time, we are working to complete Ms. Schott's FOIA request within the timelines permitted under Illinois law. We are also sending her, via certified mail, a copy of the letter that we sent to her attorney back on April 12, 2017. The City of Trenton will be making an official public statement in the near future regarding this matter. I will make sure you are provided with a copy of our official press release at that time. If you have further questions as we work through this process please let me know.”