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Sewer Problem Surfaces
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Several Escalon families have been forced out of their Irwin Avenue homes, while sewage that backed up into the houses due to a blockage in the system is removed and the homes thoroughly cleaned.

The problem occurred last week, and city officials said about four to six residences were impacted badly enough to put those families up in temporary housing until the homes are cleaned, repaired and sanitized.

"It was a blockage in the sewer line," explained Escalon City Manager Henry Hesling. "There was a problem in the line itself and when we tried to open it up, it created an air bubble or a vacuum in the line and what that did was backed up the sewage into the homes."

Residents were evacuated and Hesling said they have all been placed in temporary housing until the situation can be resolved.

"It's unfortunate but we're going to do everything we can for the families," he said.

Clean up began almost immediately and officials said early indications when checking the sewer line pointed to grease as being the primary culprit in the blockage.

It's a good lesson, Hesling said, in not dumping any grease down the drains in homes because, over time, it can lead to extensive and costly problems.

"We clean the sewer lines on a routine basis," Hesling added, with no indication of major trouble in that area until the back up occurred.

"We got a call that there was 'stuff' coming out of the manhole" in the Irwin area, he said of first learning of the issue.

City Engineer John Abrew deferred official comment on the situation to Hesling but agreed that they city is aware of some areas that are problematic.

"We know our spots around town that give us trouble and we keep an eye on them," Abrew said.

This situation was out of the ordinary and came with no warning prior to the back up, Hesling added. The families displaced will likely be in the temporary housing arrangements for the next few weeks.