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Orofino Woman Asking for Help; Sewage Backs Up onto Property

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We begin tonight with continuing coverage on a story we first brought you on KLEW News live at six. A property owner in Orofino is asking for help, as water overtakes her tenants’ homes. But this home isn’t on a flood plain, instead the cause of this flooding is much more troubling.

"We are actually watching it,” said Candy Nielson, rental property owner. “We were sitting here and it was actually fountaining up out of the city drains."

For the last five days, Candy Nielson’s rental property on Odie Street in Orofino has been surrounded by several inches of water, and sewage.

"First of all we were contacting the city public works that takes care of the sewer lines trying to figure out what's causing it,” said Nielson.

When the sewer started backing up days ago, Candy and her husband tried pumping out the water themselves. Candy says Orofino’s Code Enforcement Official Todd Perry told them that was a wasted effort, as there was too much water coming through.

"They had told that they were not sure where the water was coming from, because they don't know where it's coming from they have no way to shut it off,” said Nielson.

She has also spoken with the public works supervisor and though she’s spoken with officials, she says they’ve been slow to act.

"Most of all I think the tenants mentioned to me, they were surprised that the city didn't come knock on the door and say 'Hey can we help?' I've been trying to figure out who's going to help with this, mainly concerning for my tenants trying to find a place for them to go and to safely get them out of the home without them having to walk through it,” said Nielson.

Candy says while she's waiting on a response from the city, her biggest concern is for the health and safety of her tenants.

"It's a huge health issue,” said Nielson.

The Nielson’s rental isn’t the only property affected. Neighbors are frustrated and say the city has known about this problem for years.

"They've smoke-tested all the rest of the city from what I understand, but for some reason even though they know this has been kind of an ongoing problem, they never smoke-tested this area,” said Nielson.

Right now Candy just wants to find a safe place for her tenants to go before she thinks about the fate of her property.

"It's just in water until the city can figure out what to do. and it should be the city's responsibility,” said Nielson.

Candy says there is one tenant still in the house, and the others are temporarily staying with family. If you know of somewhere in the Orofino area where these people can stay, contact Candy at (208) 816-3344.

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