Puddles of excrement under her window for 8 years: a Hérault resident “prisoner” of her own apartment

Puddles of excrement under her window for 8 years: a Hérault resident “prisoner” of her own apartment

At the Cigales de Frontignan residence, a resident fights against frequent backflow of fecal matter under her window. FREE MIDI – PHILIPPE MALRIC and DR

Since 2016, and her move into a brand new residence in Frontignan, Jennifer has been confronted with regular resurgences of puddles of excrement under her window.

"It’s simple. I forbade my daughter from going on the terrace. We are prisoners of our own apartment". Jennifer, tenant of social housing located on the ground floor of the Cigales residence, bordering the Allende roundabout in the La Peyrade district of Frontignan, is on the verge of breaking up . Depressive. His drug treatment had no effect.

A tarpaulin to prevent fecal matter splashes

Behind her, the tarpaulin that she has stretched over her terrace flaps limply in the wind. "It doesn't look pretty but I  nbsp;I installed it to try to prevent splashes, she says. To prevent the projection of excrement… Because in front of its terrace, in the parking lot, there is a view overlooking the lifting pumps supposed to evacuate dirty water from the entire residence. Pumps that break down almost every month since 2016. The fecal matter then escapes from the top, through the trapdoor… Smell guaranteed on the terrace and in the apartment. The last time it happened on Friday, April 19 "and the guys came in on Monday at 3 p.m. We spent the weekend elsewhere", slips, tired, the mother.

The mother breaks down in 2022

However, she was very happy when she entered this brand new apartment on May 3, 2016. Especially since her daughter was born three days later. And a few days after returning from the maternity ward, they were confronted with their first problem with these pumps. "But we tell ourselves that it’s normal, that the residence is new. That there are still things to improve. That it will work out." Actually, no. From breakdown to breakdown, despite the replacement of pumps, from odorous puddles to odorous puddles – which are evacuated, without cleaning, then via the stormwater towards the canal and the pond – Jennifer finally broke down in 2022.

Poisoning from gas released by excrement

His daughter, of fragile composition, has multiple health problems. Perhaps because of the stale atmosphere. "And sometimes, I myself go through the day feeling like I'm happy. Rotten egg at the back of the throat. I was told it was H2S poisoning". Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) is a gas that is released from decomposing organic matter. The single mother, who thinks that there is a defect somewhere without having proof, has therefore taken the bull by the horns. Increased calls. To its lessor A roof for all, at the CCAS, at the town hall. Without satisfactory success. A bailiff even came to make findings. She asked, in vain, to change apartments. Requested her insurance to initiate legal proceedings. Case in progress. Until the day when, miraculously, she came across an agent from the Regional Health Agency on the phone.

An order from the Prefecture for "serious and imminent danger"

He came on a breakdown day. On the basis of his visit, the Hérault Prefecture published a decree on January 25, 2024, which notably mentions a breach of the public health code as well as ;rsquo;un"serious and imminent danger" for the two occupants. The lessor, A roof for all, is therefore ordered – "within 21 days to carry out the cleaning", but also and above all "search for the causes of this repression" and repair it "effectively, durable and long-lasting". The twenty-one days have passed. And nothing happened… 

The lessor: “Is there anything else ?”'

Contacted by Midi Libre, the lessor A roof for all explains that "our service provider noticed that the wastewater manhole was regularly cluttered with wipes, or even mops. And as soon as these pumps are stopped, the result is backflow at the level of the manhole which is located near the accommodation. Despite replacing the pumps in 2022, the problem persists. Is this due exclusively to the use of wipes ? Is there anything else that is causing difficulty in the proper functioning of the lifting pumps ?"

Emergency work to be carried out by the City or the Agglomeration

On April 2, in accordance with the provisions of the first prefectural decree, and without response from the lessor, the Prefecture requested the rapid completion of work, which will be at the expense of A roof for all. Logically, it is now up to the City of Frontignan and/or the Agglo de Sète to undertake the long-awaited project. It goes without saying that Jennifer is waiting for it with great impatience. "It's no longer a life. I only think about that. My daughter only grew up in this atmosphere. Now that's enough".

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