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New Salisbury apartments see improvement

A few New Salisbury residents may have a serious sewage leaking issue taken care of, thanks to the county health department and persistent resident Ray Steele.
Steele, who resides in the apartments at the old school building off Water Street, said he’s worried for not only his health, but for that of everyone in the building. He said he contacted everyone he could think of about the problem.
‘What is it going to take to get Harrison County to decide something’s got to be done?’ he asked earlier this month.
A little attention to the problem and health department action may have done the trick, as crews began working Friday to fix the leakage issue and continued to work through the weekend, Steele said.
‘We’ve got that taken care of,’ Wayne Snyder, owner of the apartment building, said.
That has yet to be officially determined by the county health department, Public Health Coordinator Tony Combs said. Combs and other health department officials visited the site Monday afternoon to examine the improvements made by Snyder.
‘We took a bunch of notes, we found some stuff we liked and some stuff we didn’t like,’ he said.
Raw sewage leaked into the basement underneath Steele’s and his neighbors’ apartments. The sewage leaked from the apartments directly onto a 220-volt water heater and filled the basement floor. Steele said he feared taking a shower because of the threat of electrocution. An electrician and a plumber said they ‘wouldn’t put their name’ on the system by repairing it, he said.
Lonnie Leake, chief of the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept., examined the situation and said it was at least an electrical hazard. Leake said he contacted the State Fire Marshal’s office about getting involved, and Combs said a representative from the office plans to visit the site this week.
Combs said after health department officials visited the site the first time, County Attorney John E. Colin sent Snyder a letter requiring him to get the sewage problem fixed by a certain date or the county would proceed with legal action.
‘That’s still where we’re at,’ Combs said.
Snyder said the leakage problem began when someone left a drain cap off, causing tub waste to leak.
‘We’re trying to stay on top of things,’ he said.
He said he makes sure everything is safe with smoke detectors and fire alarms.
The health department will work with Colin to come to a conclusion on the matter this week, Combs said.
‘Something’s got to be done,’ resident Lisa Shireman said. ‘It’s just poor people; we have nowhere else to go.’
Steele said he moved into his apartment after his home in Salem was destroyed by fire about six months ago. ‘This was the only place I could afford to live,’ Steele said.
The building has 12 apartments and the number of tenants varies, Snyder said.