ANCHORAGE (AP) -- Sewage fouled five apartments in an Anchorage neighborhood Sunday when grease plugged an 8-inch main pipe nearby, authorities said.
About 6 inches of wastewater flooded the outdoor hallway in front of the basement apartments and seeped through cracks into residences, tenants said.
The tenants initially thought it was a broken water pipe. Residents called 911 when the water began rising faster than it could be scooped out.
Because the first reports were that it was a water leak, response to the backup was delayed and worsened the flooding problems, said Chris Kosinski, an Anchorage Water and Wastewater Utility spokesman. Crews used a rotor to clear grease from the pipe and unplug it.
The city brought in a cleaning service to pump out water and sanitize the area. Other buildings in the area were not affected, Kosinski said.
Kosinski said he doesn't believe that people are likely to become ill from the sewage.
The sewage main was last cleaned in 1997 and was due for maintenance, he said. Kosinski estimated apartment cleanup costs of $5,000 to $8,000 each. It will take seven to 10 days before each unit is cleaned and sanitized, he said.
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