HUDSON, Fla. - R.J. Ogden is quickly becoming the most popular guy in his neighborhood off Ranch Road in Hudson. "A lot of people kept asking me just to go for a ride."
With flood waters up to every front porch, cars are stuck. So R.J. is using his canoe to get people back and forth. "I never thought, the same road I drive on every day, we'd be paddling up and down it."
Those living on Arbordale Drive say the water has backed off some from Sunday. But it still makes going to the mailbox a difficult task.
Around the block, the water did get into some homes.
"The house is trashed. My floors are buckled. Carpets are trashed," said one resident.
The flooding is bad enough, but people in this neighborhood are extra concerned, because right next door is a treatment plant. That has them wondering what might be in the water.
"It's human treated wastewater that's here," said Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano.
Mariano says the Aqua Utilities Palm Terrace treatment plant should have never been put in a residential neighborhood, and when flooding like this happens, reclaimed water ends up flowing freely through the streets.
"In violation of DEP standards, they don't even have the emergency outflow pipe that could actually take some of this water away," said Mariano.
State officials and those with Aqua utilities say the ponds in the plant have not flooded over into the storm water pond. But those who live here say it doesn't pass the smell test.
That's another reason why R.J. is glad to be paddling instead of walking. "Sometimes when the wind is blowing just right, I can smell it all the way at my house. And it's a bad situation."
More rain will make this bad situation worse, but at least R.J. is around to save the day.
Help may be on the way for those all around Pasco County. Monday morning, the County Commission approved a local state of emergency. That will allow the county to ask for state assistance.
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