DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. — Douglasville residents living on Bob White Lane say a terrible odor is engulfing their neighborhood.
“It just about knocked me out,” said Phyllis Price.
Latoya Stone told Channel 2 investigative reporter Ashli Lincoln that smell was coming from the backyard of a home she was renting with her three kids and one roommate.
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Stone says she moved in March of last year, and after just one month, the septic tank began overflowing, leading to backflow into the home.
“Horrible, it was our own feces that we were living in, urine, the smell, it was just horrible,” Stone said.
Price lives next door, and says the odor was unbearable.
“I work in my yard a lot, so I enjoy being out here, but I couldn’t do it after that,” Price said.
After weeks of complaints, the management company did send a crew to make repairs in April, but after the problem returned.
“They said we need a bigger tank for the amount of room that’s in the house,” Stone said.
Channel 2 Action News found the home is owned by Starwood Property Trust, a private investment firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut.
The company confirmed they hired Excalibur Homes to manage the property.
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Excalibur says in April of last year, they hired a septic tank company and found the lines were clogged due to wipes and grease going down the drains. Excalibur says that falls into the category of “abuse or neglect,” placing the responsibility on the tenant to pay for repairs.
Stone says after dealing with the sewage for several months, she filed a complaint with the Douglas County Health Department. Her neighbor, Price, filed one two months later. The health department confirmed a sewage leak. However, it wasn’t classified as an imminent health hazard.
The CDC says prolonged exposure to sewage fumes can cause nausea, headaches, delirium and skin and eye irritation.
In a February 2023 email Channel 2 Action News obtained from an open records request, Excalibur acknowledged the failing septic tank.
Stone says she eventually moved out a month before the repair was made.
“I was mad. I was mad. I was just mad because you constantly send me text messages about rent money. How, why do you, why should I have to pay you? And I’m living like this. I was furious,” said Stone.
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