Sewage seeping into Dallas apartment complex

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by JONATHAN BETZ

WFAAA

Posted on November 14, 2012 at 7:42 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 14 at 8:04 PM

Oasis Park Apartments

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DALLAS — More than she would like, Glenda Knight says she must cautiously tip-toe into her apartment, past suspicious puddles that emit an aroma so foul she’s tempted to hold her nose.

“It’s human fecal matter over here,” she said as she gestured to a wide puddle of sewage flowing down a sidewalk toward a parking lot.

“It’s running from that end, running from this end! Right by my door... right up my walkway," she said. "I have to walk that way going to work!”

For weeks, she complains, raw sewage has backed up through drainage pipes and into the courtyards and sidewalks of the Oasis Park Apartments at 3035 East Ledbetter Drive in Dallas.

“Schoolchildren come in running. They run through this stuff every day,” Knight noted. “This sewage backup has been going on for three weeks!”

The sewage has even backed up into her bathtub. Her toilet won’t flush, forcing her to visit a nearby gas station's restroom.

“This is ridiculous,” she said. “We can’t even take baths because of stuff coming up in this bathtub.”

The city has logged dozens of complaints and code violations with the Oasis Park complex this year. Sewage backups have been documented as far back as May.

Dallas code inspectors again discovered the problem last Wednesday. The city says when inspectors returned for a follow-up inspection, the issue had been fixed.

Yet raw sewage soon started seeping out again.

On Tuesday, the city started getting more calls. Inspectors returned and issued a violation.

“Management doesn’t care, and I have asked several times for the corporate office so I could call and speak with the owner,” Knight said.

The complex is owned by Oasis Properties of Texas. It’s the same property where Juan Steele, 41, was hit and killed in July after trying to stop a tow truck driver from taking his car.

The victim’s family is currently suing the complex and the tow truck company.

Last week, a school bus driver lost control and crashed into one of the apartments, apparently suffering a heart attack.

Allen Tanner, a Virginia lawyer, is one of the owners of the property. He insists he was unaware of the sewage problems.

“You just have told me for the first time,” he said over the phone to News 8. “I am very concerned about any complaint like this.”

Tanner directed inquiries from News 8 to Lane Star Property Management.

“I don’t need you to make me look like the bad guy, because I’m not,” said Lane Star owner Brian Schwartz. He insisted his crews have quickly fixed the backups each time.

He says the sewage lines continue to back up because tenants keep flushing grease and diapers down the drains. He said several workers were flushing the pipes and cleaning up the spilled sewage on Wednesday afternoon.

“If you go back at the end of the day, you’ll never know it happened,” Schwartz said.

Tenants like Knight remain skeptical. She said she’s heard that promise before.

“I’m tired of it. I’m tired of it,” she said. “This is not healthy.”

E-mail jbetz@wfaa.com

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