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In the Metro East city of Cahokia Heights, which includes the former municipality of Centreville, sewer and stormwater systems are often so full that raw sewage seeps into residents’ yards.
“You’d think we live in a Third World country, the way the city don’t care,” said William McNeal, who has lived there for more than 45 years.
The foundation of his house continues to shift because of flood damage. He can’t drink water from the tap, and he regularly has to scare off snakes and mice from the home.
“Where I live, a ditch runs down the side of my house. So all of the water that comes up from Belleville, from all the other places, runs down the side of my house with the trash and stuff, and it sits in my yard [and] goes under my house, and you can’t get it out,” he said. “And the raw sewage too. We couldn’t sit outside because of the smell of the raw sewage … when the sun come out.”
But McNeal said he can’t afford to leave.
And although McNeal and other members of Centreville Citizens for Change have experienced severe flooding for two decades, officials have done little to mitigate the problem — or to even find out what’s causing it.