Some Cherry Hill residents woke up Tuesday to raw sewage filling their basements.
The pumps ran all morning long on Ascension Street, where more than a foot of sewer water filled basements of five houses.
"I just said, 'Not again,' because this happened last year. The same thing, the main sewage out in the front had a backup," said Carlton Jennings, a resident.
All of the residents said everything in their basements, from appliances to keepsakes, is ruined, and they're left to foot the bill for cleanup.
"I was down there actually trying to save some of the things, and I'm missing a day's work. I'm pissed," said Lynette Wright, a resident.
The Department of Public Works had crews out early. They determined grease and debris buildup caused a choke in the sewer line. They had it cleaned out by mid-morning, but pumping out the water took several more hours.
"I grew up here, and when we was (sic) kids, we used to have to pump the sewer water out, because it backed up into the house. When we was kids we used to take a dust pan and bucket and get water out of the basement," said Charles Walls, a resident. "The city needs to repair the lines, because they've been pumping out these houses for years."
The DPW said they are aware of the problem, and they have a comprehensive plan to go through the entire sewer system to make sure it's up to standards. They could not say where Ascension Street is on the list.
"The long-term solution would be an engineered solution, and wherever possible, we do go in either cleaning or lining some of our sewer lines. Sometimes, it has to be a new line engineered," DPW spokesman Jeff Raymond said.
The DPW said the lines on Ascension Street were last cleaned in January. The city said the affected homeowners need to file a claim with the city for an investigation to determine whether they will be reimbursed for the cleaning.