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Backed up sewer line causes tension between neighbors

NEW ORLEANS – Two neighbors are at odds due to a sewerage back-up.

One neighbor’s clogged line extends onto the property next door, and he neighbor doesn’t want her yard dug up.

The plumbing work isn't the prettiest, but it's what Ahmed Shakir said he needed to do to keep his sewer line flowing.

“I have a wife and four kids,” he said. “When you have raw sewage coming into your house and you can't drain the water that you pay to do, now you're in a jam.”

The problem started nine months ago at this home on Peniston Street. Shakir’s family has lived in the home since 1989.

Sewage started backing up into the house, so he called the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board to find the sewer line and clean-out.

However, when he took measurements to try to find the clean-out, none could be found.

Shakir said a supervisor came out to look, and couldn't find it either. He got a letter from S&WB stating they were unable to locate the sewer connection.

“(The supervisor) made a couple of phone calls and then he informed me of something called a community line. First time I'd ever heard of it,” Shakir said.

Turns out, his line connects to his neighbor's, on her property.

This situation has pitted neighbor against neighbor. Shakir's neighbor actually put up a temporary fence to keep him off of her property, because she said his sewage is stressful for her, too.

"When I purchased this house, I didn't purchase this to go through what I'm going through,” Alice Felix said.

Felix doesn't want Shakir on her property to fix the problem, and she's called the police on him for trespassing.

“I can't sleep, I haven't been able to eat, I have lost maybe about 30 pounds,” Felix said.

The Sewerage and Water Board records show Shakir's house had its own sewer line dating all the way back to the 1920's. It's unclear how Shakir's got connected to Felix's.

“This has created a strain,” he said. “I said to my wife, honey, when it's all over, lets bake a cake and send it over to show there are no ill feelings.”

For now, like Shakir's drainage line, the relationship is at a standstill.

The S&WB issued a violation notice to Shakir. He now has 30 days to get a licensed plumber.

However, Shakir insists the city should fix the problem since no one seems to be able to find his line.

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