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People could lose homes over sewer issues in Eau Claire

Eau Claire (WQOW)- A handful of Eau Claire residents could soon lose their homes.

If you walk through Maples Mobile Home Park, you’ll find sewage on the ground, homes too close together and crumbling roofs.

But still, residents don’t want to leave. Most of them have nowhere else to go.

“I’ve seen a lot of bad housing in Eau Claire, and I was sort of shocked at the housing here,” said Julian Emerson, an independent journalist who has been investigating this story for the last year.

More: Read Emerson’s latest report on the mobile home park

The problems at Maples Mobile Home Park, are obvious.

“The sewers are old and a lot of the tenants over the years have flushed things through our sewers and it’s been causing blockage and possible breaks. There’s a lot of things underground that we may not even know that need to be fixed,” said Dre Green, a Maples Mobile Home Park resident.

There’s sewage on the ground, underneath some of the homes, and that’s what the city and health department is worried about.

Tuesday, city leaders were at the mobile home park conducting a smoke test to find broken pipes or leaks that may or may not be connected to the public sewer service.

Samantha Purchase is one of the seven residents informed her home didn’t pass the test.

If Purchase doesn’t repair her home by Tuesday, her home will get a placard saying it’s unsafe, and she’ll have to leave, but she’s not even sure what to fix.

“They have not reached out to offer any type of assistance or give detailed information on what it is that we even need to do to prevent that, as far as the problems, they’re very vague about that,” Purchase said.

While there’s concerns about what all needs to be repaired, everyone in the park agrees the sewage system is faulty, and not every plumber can do the job.

“We’re having a really hard time finding someone who is licensed and certified who is willing to get underneath some of these trailers and help us out,” Green said.

“We’re looking at options on our side as well, to try an help find some plumbing experts to help with the plumbing situation out there too,” said Scott Allen, the community development director for the City of Eau Claire.

Residents are trying to do what they can to keep their homes, but are scared Tuesday they’ll have to pick up and leave.

“It’s hopefully just a temporary situation. It allows them to be removed from an unsafe, unhealthy situation, allows them to fix that and then return,” Allen said.

“Basically for them, it’s this or on the streets,” Emerson said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to them. They should not be living in these bad situations, yet they shouldn’t be homeless either.”

Health officials will be back at the mobile home park Tuesday, to inspect the changes the residents make. That’s when people could get the placards, and be forced out.

News 18 plans to be there to find out what happens.


Shannon Satterlee

Shannon Satterlee joined News 18 in February 2018 as a Multi-Media Journalist.

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