Raw Sewage Pools in Parking Lot of East Fort Worth Apartment Complex

An East Fort Worth neighborhood is dealing with a disgusting and potentially dangerous situation. Raw sewage spilled out of an apartment complex, is pooling in the parking lot and leaking into neighboring yards -- and a federal lawsuit is making it difficult to hold anyone accountable.

It sounds like a gently flowing stream. But what's been pouring into the parking lot of the Stratton Apartments on East Lancaster Avenue is raw sewage and all the nasty things that come with that.

"They should do better over here for these people," resident Raven Smith said. "They have babies and kids who play and run outside and that's not, you know, safe."

The apartment managers told NBC 5 the leak started on Friday and a clean-up crew was there Monday to fix it. But residents said it's hardly the first time.

"It's been like this for about four years," Smith said.

And it doesn't end at the property lines. Sewage seeps under the back fence right into 10-year-old Fernando Rivara's yard.

"It comes from over there, over there like a river and even over there, the trash comes here too," Fernando said.

His mother said the family has reported the problem to the apartment complex, but nothing changes. So Fernando can't play outside.

"Sometimes I'm afraid that I might fall and touch it and I might get infected," Fernando said.

A city code enforcement spokesperson told NBC 5 it did regular inspections at the complex, but right now there's no one to issue a citation to because the property is held up in a federal lawsuit. The owners are accused in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme and the complex is going up for sale.

The people living through the mess only hope that means real change is coming.

"I know this is a low income place, but these people don't deserve to live like this, you know," Smith said.

City code enforcement said they had been in contact with a maintenance company appointed to do repairs on the property, but they have very little money to work with. The city too, is hoping the complex will sell soon.

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