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Meadowcroft Road Residents Complain of Sewage, Rats, Street Cave-ins

The West Deptford neighborhood has battled the effects of aging water and sewer infrastructure for a few years now, with repairs too expensive to fully address.

Video captured from the December 27 sewer leak on Meadowcroft Road. Credit: Nicole Olsen.
Video captured from the December 27 sewer leak on Meadowcroft Road. Credit: Nicole Olsen.
Something stinks on Meadowcroft Road.

John Carrero, who said he's lived in the development for 20 years, said the smell of sewage has persisted since the roadway infrastructure began to fail in recent years.

His neighbor Emily Fedor, who's lived there for 39 years, describes "a fecal smell" that persists on the block during the summer months that's "so bad we can't open our windows."

Then, in December, when the most recent sewer breakage occurred, Fedor said sewage spilled all over leaf piles in the street, which still remained uncollected for days after the incident.

She also recalled two roadway cave-ins on her street, one of which was just avoided by a school bus, she said.

"This street is rising and cracking all the way down," Fedor said. "They said they fixed it. The last time they fixed it was July, and my neighbor got three feet of sewage in her house."

"For 35 years, we didn't have this," she said. "When they opened this [street] up, we got rats in our house."

Next door, the Olsen family attested to the rat issue as well. With three dogs in the household, Lisa Olsen said, they're concerned that their pets could become sickened by an encounter with the animals, which they say are persistent.

Moreover, on a block of bi-level houses, they were none too thrilled at the prospect of sewage overflow infiltrating the improvements they've made to the below-ground rooms in their home.

"We're afraid that the roads, the way they're cracking up, they're going to start caving in or the pipes are going to break and we'll get flushed out," she said.

Frank Toth, whose home shares a property line with Rock Products, Inc., directly behind the development, said that he's seen plenty of rats, and claimed his husky, Tiffany, has already torn one apart.

"My dog got one rat and bit the thing right in half," he said.

It's also harder for residents on Meadowcroft to shake the feeling of second-class citizenry, as they continue to wait for a resolution to the issues that have become all too commonplace in their neighborhood.

"The last time they repaired the development was when I moved in," Carrero said. "If this was Sherwood, you wouldn't have this problem."

'Probably a $10 million project'

When reached for comment—prior to his removal at the January re-organization of West Deptford governmentthen-Township Administrator Eric Campo said he was aware of the situation on Meadowcroft Road.

Despite his sympathies for the plight of residents on that street, the sewer, water, and pumping station improvements it requires will cost about $10 million to correct.

"I appreciate their frustration," he said. "I've identified it as a place where we need to make investment for three to four years. We didn't get a capital ordinance this year, and until we get authorization, we'll have to continue to be reactive to these problems."

Campo said that short of securing low-cost loans from the state to make the needed improvements, they will likely require additional debt service.

"That's a normal process for every municipality," he said.

"Other than a project like the power plant, which did contribute $107 million over a 30-year period, you're not going to capture significant money just through growth to pay cash for these projects."

In the meantime, the residents of Meadowcroft Road will continue to wait.
Mike Duffy January 12, 2014 at 11:26 PM
It's a shame but this site seems like a bunch of political hacks. The truth hurts but the dems effed this townships finances up. Lets see what the newly elected party can do. They do have a huge hole to dig out of though. Good luck!
zeke carey January 13, 2014 at 09:16 AM
To William Liberal, I pay my employees well Quite a few have been with me for over 25 years,so if they were dissatisfied they could have moved on. The meadowcroft situation has been around for the past 7 years and nothing was done back then.when the previous committee brought it up in 2008 they just passed it on as oh well we'll address that issue later. it was never consider as their main resolution. that area has been plagued with problems ever since they built red bank estates. It was nothing but swamp and everybody dumped their trash. then they built parkway drive in and that went belly up. I feel sorry for the residents on that street and something should be done,SO WHY DIDN'T THE DOCIMO REGIME DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. RIGHT AWAY YOU FRICKIN PEOPLE WANT TO POINT FINGERS. Get Sweeney involved like he really cares.
Andrea January 13, 2014 at 09:25 AM
it does seem that all the problems the Democrats are complaining about have been around for years. How can they jump on the Republicans who have only just begun to mess things up. The Dems have had a strangle hold on W.D. since I've lived here 35 years…. and again… no one cares about First Ave which should be a relatively easy fix. Folks were telling them years ago the sewer is getting stopped up but they just found out how much is going down to First Ave (all of Meravan Farms) and that the more direct outlet was filled with concrete bc there was water washing against the foundation of a house. That house has been demolished and the pipe is still filled with concrete. So fix it.
Gary Kuehnapfel January 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM
To Zeke Carey: First of all Steve Sweeney has not been directly involved in twp. politics in over 4yrs. This will be the 3rd yr. that the Rep.'s have been in control. The only thing positive they've given us is a gas station at Wawa. Higher debt, loss of jobs, declining services and programs have been their legacy so far!
zeke carey January 13, 2014 at 04:27 PM
Gary,you make me laugh,you collect a payday from the taxpayers and you squabble about what the rep are doing where was your negative commenting when your so called party and dem committee people were shoving it so far up the residents butts.you had no voice then because they were lining your pocket. is there another one of your ficticious lawsuits in the making. and don't give me that sob story about disability that's another BS story. ever since the republicans took over you bad mouth them ever since.if you want to avoid the republican way pack and move or just sit back and reap the bennies that are given you by all the taxpayers in this town and state

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