Severe erosion puts houses in Jefferson County in danger

A Jefferson County neighborhood could slide away and people are abandoning homes hanging on the edge. Recent rain and flooding have caused problems across the metro area - from flooded homes to leaking sewage. In one neighborhood, the rain could force at least one family to lose their home."I'm caught between a rock and a hard place - no pun intended," Tony Lucia, a homeowner said.Tony Lucia has lived on Maralyn Drive outside of Trussville for 14 years.{}"Put as much sweat and effort into the house and do what you can to try to improve it and the more you do, the more you realize the property you have is worthless," Lucia said.For him, every rainy day in the forecast holds the possibility of a catastrophe."In the last six months we've had rain, we saw more and more erosion," Lucia said.The heavy rains over the past few days washed away around 20 feet of his backyard. And the cliffs edge is getting closer and closer."Now we are about 15 feet from the edge of my deck," he said. "Another storm like that, we are to the house. Much more than that, the house becomes unlivable, unsafe."This erosion started about a year and a half ago. His neighbor simply had to abandon his property because of the danger level."He fought it as long as he could and finally just gave up and let the house go back to the bank," Lucia said. "I had to then take it on myself. I've tried every agency I could find, to no avail."This gas pipe - which used to be buried underground - is now exposed. Alagasco shut it off. The sewer lines are broken and sticking out and they're still live. When it rains, the sewage flows into the creek and even into some of his neighbors yards. {}He told us, he's called every national and county agency he can think of to handle this and was told it's his problem to fix."No one wants to accept responsibility of it and they keep telling me it's my problem, it's my personal property and I just have to deal with it," Lucia said. "That hurts. I can't find anybody to help with a problem that is not caused by me."The E.P.A told us, the Alabama Department of Environmental Management is responsible for this type of problem, But no one in the offices returned our call.