Yvonne Cozier
June 7, 2019
Family fed up with waste from septic tank next door

For one family, which has been living for several months, trying to avoid the stream and stench of liquid from their neighbour’s septic tank, frustration at the unchanging situation has seeped in.

“It’s real, real, real stink,” Richmond Hill resident Yvonne Cozier said while describing her predicament in a trip to SEARCHLIGHT last Friday.

She, her husband, and 12-year-old son have been living in this situation for over year, she says. Cozier informed that their troubles began after they sold a piece of land next to their property to a woman, who then built three houses on “one little piece of land.”

There are two septic tanks on this neighbour’s land that are causing problems.

One of them is “not really my problem but it is the whole village problem,” Cozier explained. From this septic tank she has observed what she believes to be stool running into the drain. She said that she had to ban her son and his cousin from playing there because it is unhealthy.

“We have to ban our children from playing. This is stool,” she stated while providing photographic evidence appearing to show a thick, brown, liquid substance coming from a wall.

“When the ball go in the gutter, what you think happen?,” she added.

However, the bane of her life lies in the septic tank that is leaking a stream of liquid right into her yard, and onto her steps. She showed a video of a glistening stream of liquid flowing from a different wall, and underneath what used to be her dog shed, and into some grass in her yard. There are signs from the video that this is a usual portal for the liquid, since there is green matter growing.

“My husband will call her and say ‘(name of neighbour), your cesspit water is running in our yard,’ and she will cuss my husband, I’m not joking she will curse, and then stop speak to we,” Cozier commented exasperatedly.

When the family first saw the liquid on the steps, they did not know that it was from the septic tank, and it was only when it started to smell that Cozier said they realized what it was.

She referenced that for nearly the whole month of May with the exception of a some days, the water from the septic tank was running.

She said the odour is particularly bad when the sun is hot.

When they are going to church on Sunday, she says her family has to jump to avoid the water.

Cozier said she went to the Public Health Department, and spoke with one “James” who is the “big man” there, presumably the Chief Environmental Officer, Neri James. According to her, James then dispatched one Ralph Williams who went and looked at the situation, and reported back to James. After this James apparently visited the scene himself.

“They tell me they are going to do something, and they did not do anything because the lady is not doing anything concerning the water,” Cozier stated.

She said that Williams told her husband not to cut the grass in the yard because it would be unhealthy. She does not know what the health department told her neighbour on the approximately four occasions that they visited the scene.

Last month she said that she reached out to the Minister of Health, Luke Browne, and according to her, Browne wrote a letter indicating that the situation was urgent, and that the situation should be addressed. She said he said to give him a week, but since then, she has not been able to get in touch with him.

SEARCHLIGHT spoke to one James at the Public Health Department and he stated that they are aware of the issue and that they are dealing with it. He did not provide further comment.

The neighbour apparently wants to have access to dig on their land as she did once before, but Cozier does not want this. Cozier also says that the septic tank was sucked out once last year, and this had no effect.

She feels that the situation is overbearing now, and she has retained a lawyer.

“All I want, leh she move her cesspit and put it somewhere else so her waste would not be in the yard, because it’s very stink,” Cozier lamented.