PASCO COUNTY, Fla. - Walk or drive down Sunrise Lane in Pasco County and the raw sewage baking in the sun will sting your nostrils.
Tropical Storm Debby flooded the area with between 10 and 15 inches of rain, causing adjacent Worrell and Bass Lakes to overflow. This caused septic tanks to back up, leaving raw sewage to take over the streets, driveways and yards.
On Tuesday, President Obama declared Pasco County, along with Baker, Bradford, Columbia and Wakulla counties--major disaster areas.
"We haven't been able to cook or do dishes," said Irene Fields, a resident of Sunrise Lane. "We are living off sandwiches and paper plates."
Fields, like other families in the area, finally received some Tuesday from the Salvation Army. Volunteers first brought cleaning supplies like mops and bleach and returned in the evening with warm food.
"Right now we are looking at all the water and the sewage all over. Even when it is gone, how will we clean it?" Fields asked.
Residents have running water but cannot clean themselves because there is nowhere for bath or shower water to drain. Fields, who has a three year old daughter, heads to her friend's house to bathe.
"Sometimes you just have to go without," she added.
Pasco County Board of Commissioners extended a Local State of Emergency through Sunday, July 8. Pasco County declared the emergency on Monday, June 25, after Tropical Storm Debby pummeled with rain.
The Board order allows the County to waive the procedures and formalities otherwise required of by law to perform public work and taking whatever action is necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the community.
Within hours of the extension, county workers brought out a portable toilet and portable hand washing station.
Although the help is welcomed, residents do not think the county acted quick enough.
"We don't want to be treated like second or third class citizens," said Kim Proebster, who lives in the area and has survived three prior floods. "I just feel like it's the county's responsibility to come out and say, 'are you OK?'"
With the federal disaster declaration counties can get federal assistance including grants to help pay for home and business repairs. Fields and Proebster are more concerned about getting help over the 4th of July holiday.
"We have a lot of people on vacation, a lot of people out sick," explained Jeanne Coulter with the Pasco County Salvation Army. "There are limited resources."
Coulter told ABC Action News she and several other volunteers will be available, but if residents call other organizations or county offices they won't get a call back right away.
Another pressing problem--raw sewage has mosquitos swarming the area.
"As I talk to you right now, I am getting bitten. The mosquitos are so bad," Fields added.
"It is hot. It is yucky. It is summer," Proebster explained.
Residents were expecting county workers to come out and spray the area tonight.
One thing county workers will not be able to get rid of so easily are the poisonous snakes and alligators lurking in the sewage.
Proebster said with the lake flooding behind her house, alligators are out and about in her yard.
"I don't expect them to make it to the front of the house," Proebster said while noting the water in her yard receded.
Dozens of Proebster's neighbors are dealing with the same thing.
Per a a county press release, residents who experienced flooding or other damage to their property are being asked to not only contact their insurance providers, but also are requested to register the damage with the County online at http://www.pascocountyfl.net or by calling the Resident Information Center (RIC) at (727) 847-8959 during normal business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Residents who are in need of storm related assistance should contact the American Red Cross at (813) 348-4820 through the 4th of July holiday.
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