Placentia man delivers sewage problem to council’s front door
Southeast Placentia’s Jim Murphy was tired of the stench of raw sewage drifting across his nose.
It’s what prompted him to dump a bucket of the rancid human waste over the front desk of the town’s offices during his lunch break last Tuesday.
“It is quite literally a chunk of feces,” said Placentia Mayor Wayne D. Power.
The move shocked the town employee at the front desk and the Placentia Town Hall was closed for several hours as cleanup ensued. The local branch of the RCMP were called due to the incident. Murphy later voluntarily turned himself over to police Tuesday evening.
He didn’t file a statement and an investigation is ongoing. Murphy told The Compass he is being charged with mischief and will have a court date later this year.
Murphy said sewer problems have been the norm since moving into his home in the 1990s. For years, raw sewage flowed into the river running alongside the home.
“There used to be small trout swimming there, but they’re gone now,” said Murphy.
In the winter of 2014, a pipe — which Murphy said is lined with asbestos — that runs into the river froze. With the sewer backing up, the only spot for the material to go was into his toilet and under his deck.
The situation got so bad that Murphy was forced to use a sledgehammer to punch a hole in the line, which sent sewer gushing over the bank instead of into his home. He has since replaced the deck and installed a backwater valve to help combat the problem.
“If there was asbestos at a work site, they’d come shut you down,” said Murphy of the pipe. “I’m after driving kids off of there.”
In a news release, RCMP encouraged residents “when dealing with others, to ensure that they are doing so in a respectful, courteous and safe manner.”
Murphy’s stunt Tuesday afternoon drew the attention of town officials. A day later, a specialized vacuum truck was at the site and town officials arrived to make repairs to the lift station.
While he figures it’s strange repairs would be made just a day after the incident, Murphy believes the problem will only happen again.
“I’ve got a little piece of plastic protecting me when (the lift station) shuts down and the pipes freeze up. They put a new pump on her now and that sewage is pumping to the blockhouse, but that doesn’t take care of the major problem. That is the pipe,” said Murphy. “Maybe, it’s a coincidence. I guess the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”
Murphy’s actions did not sit well with some of the town’s elected officials. Power called the incident “unacceptable” and was taken aback when he was first apprised of the situation.
“It was a shocking phone call to receive. It was a ‘what did you just tell me’ type of situation,” said the mayor. “It was somewhat unbelievable, but to see it, it was unacceptable.”
Since the pipe froze in 2014, Power said last Tuesday’s incident was the first complaint they had received from Murphy.
“There was no prior phone call before to Tuesday and as soon as we found out his name and address, we sent a public works crew there to see if there was a problem,” he said. “They did encounter a malfunction. That’s the nature of that equipment, that can happen and that’s what happened yesterday.”
Power advised residents to take other avenues when they encounter a problem in the town.
“The first course for residents would be to contact the office, contact the staff and file that there is problem,” he said. “If you don’t get appropriate action taken, contact myself or a councillor and we can look into it as well.”
Southeast Placentia’s Jim Murphy was having a problem with raw sewage, that was until he dumped a bucket of the stuff over the town’s front desk last Tuesday.