Hey DPU I have your Wastewater!

Hey Richmond Department of Utilities – I have your Wastewater please take it back!
First of all let me say how much I appreciate those of you who have come here to read my story.  I know that we are all busy and have complicated events going on in all of our lives.  It is so very hard for me to ask for help, but this is something that is beyond my current capacity to handle by myself.

I became a dialysis patient starting back in 2013, during that time I was given no chance to live.  Despite the fact that many doctors wrote me off, I am still here today having survived against all odds.  This is an ongoing struggle with many doctors’ visits per week, and due to the medical challenges of just staying alive it is very difficult to find work with such a limited time to do any gainful employment.  So this forces me to live on a fixed income, with no provisions for emergencies.

During this time I had purchased a house to move into that due to being on dialysis and wheelchair bound I would no longer be able to live at the new house as it had long stairways that kept me from even entering the premises.  This left me in a difficult situation, as I had a note on a house that was purchased during the great recession, and like many was underwater.  I continued to pay on the note despite not being able to live there while recovering and improving my health.  My friends moved into the house in order to get a larger house and be closer to their jobs, of course this helped me as they were almost able to pay the monthly mortgage note.  This allowed me to help them with getting them a nice house with a lower monthly payment, and they helped me as I was having difficulty selling the house, and was not well enough to coordinate any possible sale or rental of the property.  Shortly after they moved in the main bread winner of the family lost their job, and it took many months for them to find a new job due to the recession.  I was able to help them during that time, but in doing so I burned through all my reserves that I had set aside for repairs etc.  Although they would not have been enough in this case even if I had them.

On Dec 30, 2015 sometime during the overnight hours, the basement was flooded with three feet of wastewater.  The Gas Furnace, Water Tank, Washer and Dryer have all been damaged by the fecal waste in the water that I believe came up from the sewer drain line.  My friends called the Department of Utilities to have them come over to resolve the issue.  The people who showed up seemed to be unable to resolve the issue, and stated that it was not their fault.  When I, the homeowner, attempted to contact them that same day, I received no response from the supervisors that I called and no clarification on why they believed it was the fault of the home owner in this particular case.  I called again for each day (outside of Jan 1st, 2016 as I assumed they would be away).  No response to this day.

During this time I have been in contact with my Insurance Company, who cannot do anything about it until the water is removed.  Removing this much water is an extremely costly procedure.  Requiring multiple truckloads of water removal.  Even with the water removed the source is most likely not related to the building but very likely due to sewer lines backing up into the house.  This is not a normal covered item in Insurance policies.

The results of all this are that my friends who are being as understanding as anyone could be, have had to live in this house for the past few days as I have been trying to work this out with the various people involved in a very smelly environment which is dangerous to them and to those around the house.  They currently do have electric heat but that is not sufficient and combine this with the colder weather here in Richmond now, my very good friends are miserable.  They are just getting back on their feet and like myself have no resources to assist me with this clean up.

 This forces me to make a decision basically to use the money that I have earmarked for Dialysis and keeping me alive (including the 1k per month for medications that I need) so that the house can be cleaned up due to the Wastewater that DPU deposited into my basement. From what I am hearing this will cost me more than 2 – 3 months of dialysis payments.  I cannot do without dialysis for that length of time.  It is simply not possible.  So this forces me to do one of two horrible things, pay the money and get it cleaned up and items repaired or to not do anything and force my friends onto the street and potentially foreclose on a rather nice if smelly house.  Neither of these options are good, and I certainly want to continue to live.  I am working with my Dialysis Center to see what options are available to defer payment or to figure out what can be done from the medical side to assist.  Still this will take time and that is something that I and my friends have very little of right now.

What I am needing is the money or resources provided to do the following:

!) I need the Wastewater removed.
2) Determination of what happened and to fix the issue quickly before it should happen again.
3) The basement needs to be cleaned up and disinfected.
4) The Water Heater will need to be repaired.
5) The Gas Whole house heater will need to be cleaned and repaired.

This will get the house back to serviceable condition.


So essentially I am looking for financial assistance or volunteer support with cleanup and supplies to bring this back from the brink of a major disaster for me and my friends.  I would like to have the Department of Utilities contact me with options to help me resolve this problem versus the silence that I have received from them thus far.  And hopefully determine through their assistance where the problem occurred and what can be done to keep this from happening at some later time.


I thank all of you who made it to this point.  I know it has been a long read, but this issue is complicated.  I appreciate your time and any assistance you can offer me.  Advice is accepted, and I will try my best to respond to everyone with any concerns or possibilities that I have as yet not considered.

Donations (0)

  • Amelia Morris 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • george sarkees 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • William Lemmond 
    • $20 
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  • Shannon Harrington 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos
  • Thomas Pancoast 
    • $50 
    • 45 mos


Ed Pope 
Richmond, VA
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