Residents who live near the new MGM National Harbor say they're concerned sewage system problems in their neighborhood could get worse when the casino opens next week.
Since 2012, people who live in southern Prince George’s County have been waiting for a sewer upgrade. The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission was supposed to complete the project before MGM's opening, but now WSSC says the new sewer system won't be done for another four years.
Residents told News4 they can smell raw sewage when heavy rains hit their area.
"We’re talking about hundreds of [tanks] of raw sewage going in the river," said resident Kim Moore.
In 2000, it became clear to residents that when there is a hard rain the sewer system tied to the Broad Creek Basin overflows.
"Thirty-one million gallons -- with an 'M' -- gallons of raw sewage dumped into that creek since 2006," said Sean O'Day.
The problem is so bad that WSSC has prohibited new development in the area. But MGM National Harbor was approved before the prohibition because WSSC expected to have the sewer system upgraded in time for the casino's opening.
"What we wanted was WSSC to step up to the plate and admit that they couldn’t handle the sewage and to correct the problem," O'Day said.
The Department of Justice sued WSSC for sewage overflow on behalf of the EPA in 2004. WSSC said it has been working ever since to correct the problem.
On a regular day, there are no problems with the sewer system and it's under capacity. It's only when it rains that there's an issue, according to WSSC.
"The rain gets into the sewers, and then once that’s in there it’s like sewage because it’s a liquid coming down the pipe. The sewage is a liquid coming down the pipe. There's not enough room for both," Gumm said.