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'I just want this fixed': Man struggles with sewage backing up into apartment

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 19:24:37-04

TULSA, Okla. — One can only imagine living in a small apartment, faced with a seemingly never-ending backup in the bathroom.

“I should not have to live like that,” Brett Stuckey tells the Problem Solvers.

Stuckey said almost immediately after moving into his apartment five years ago, he discovered a plumbing problem that apparently allows sewer water to backup into his toilet and tub.

“Usually, it only backs up once every six months, but in the last year or so, it’s been nearly every month, and I’ve traced it down to every time it rains, Stuckey said.

So he keeps his heavy-duty mop handy to clean up after sometimes dirty toilet water overflows.

Then, there’s the shop vac he uses to vacuum backed-up water out of the tub.

“Last time, it got about halfway up in the bathtub. It took about 8 to 10 trips with the shop vac out the front door to clean it out the last time it happened,” Stuckey said.

But there has to be a much bigger issue, Stuckey’s convinced, causing the backup to happen again and again and again.

“I just want this fixed, so I don’t have to keep dealing with it, and I just as soon not move because moving is a big pain in the rear,” he said.

The Problem Solvers contacted the apartment complex’s local and corporate offices.

We also let Stuckey know how to connect with the health department, both online and by phone.

Workers there are ready to help renters with situations similar to Stuckey’s.

“So, as far as sewage goes, that’s like our big one. So anytime we get a sewage complaint, we basically stop what we’re doing at respond to it that day,” Kendra Wise, with the Tulsa Health Department, says.

Now, there’s a possible breakthrough for Stuckey.

He texted us, saying, “The office told me they are working on bids to find out what is causing this mess.”

Here are the important takeaways from for renters who find themselves like that of Stuckey’s situation:

  • Anyone can file a housing complaint with the Tulsa Health Department for current issues (i.e., problems that are happening now – not something that happened in the past).
  • Complaints may be made online at this link [tulsa-health.org] or by calling 918-595-4200.
  • THD inspects existing structures to ensure and enforce certain minimum building standards that must be in place if the structure is occupied or used.
  • These standards, set forth in Title 55 (Property Maintenance Code) [tulsa-health.org], include requirements pertaining to sanitation, maintenance, electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems and more.
  • THD also responds to complaints pertaining to landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities, as established in the Oklahoma Non-Residential/Residential Landlord and Tenant Acts [tulsa-health.org].
  • We’ll conduct an on-site inspection, if necessary, or refer the complainant to the right course of action. This may include working with a municipality, such as the City of Tulsa, as well.
  • Title 55 is the City Property Maintenance ordinance that governs the minimum property maintenance standard on all properties in the City of Tulsa.

You can find that here.

Contact the Problem Solvers:

  • 918-748-1502
  • problemsolvers@kjrh.com

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