In Rochelle, Georgia, white people mostly live on the south side of a railroad track, while black people live on the north side.
The city maintains its sewage pipes in the mostly-white neighborhood, but not on the black side, say residents who claim that untreated waste floods yards, streets and homes.
Black residents have been living in this giant toilet bowl for decades.
The nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice is planning to file a lawsuit under the Clean Water Act if Rochelle does not address the sewage problem in 60 days.
According to EarthJustice.org, untreated sewage backs up through bathtub and shower drains.
During heavy rains, black residents are forced to take plugs out of sewage pipes to drain the waste into their yards in an effort to keep it out of their homes.
After the sewage pours into their yards, black people have to bury feces, toilet paper and other waste.
“If we hear a bubbling sound, that means it’s backing up with raw sewage," said Sittie Butts. We can’t wash dishes. It goes all over the yard. It smells real bad. We try to keep the kids away.”
“Sewage overflows my pipes and flows under my house. It’s time somebody did something about it. [The white community] live comfortably and I want to live comfortably, too,” Rochelle resident Rufus Howard told Earthjustice.org.