Health hazard allegation at off grid home

CREATED Mar 10, 2014

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CAPE CORAL, Fla. - The city of Cape Coral filed a health complaint against off-grid resident Robin Speronis. But who's really creating the health hazard?

Two weeks ago the city dug up and capped off Speronis' sewer line, leaving her her to go to the bathroom in a five-gallon bucket.

By doing that, state health officials tell 4 In Your Corner the city has created something called a sanitary nuisance, which is against state law. And no one would have known if the city hadn't filed a health complaint against Speronis first.

"I got home from my walk and I had the card of the state health inspector in my door," said Speronis. 

Someone with the Cape Coral city attorney's office filed the complaint with the state health department last Monday. It states the city had capped the sewer and Speronis was creating a "sanitary nuisance" by using a bucket then spreading waste in her yard.

The investigator found no "animal or human waste." And the case was closed. But in an interesting turn, the Department of Health tells 4 In your Corner, the city is actually creating the sanitary nuisance.

In an email, state PIO McKinley Lewis writes: "...the department does view capping of a sewer line to an occupied residence as creation of a sanitary nuisance under chapter 386 FS."

4 In Your Corner went to the city attorney's office, but we were told they were off site for a meeting. So we left a copy of the state law.

But the city spokesperson later e-mailed this statement, which reads in part: "The act of capping a sewer does not cause a sanitary nuisance. The continued use of the system by the user without abatement or proper disposal may create a sanitary nuisance." 

"Their only mission has been to terrorize me. They don't care about the laws and the codes," said Speronis of this latest action. Her attorney, Todd Allen, said he's drafting a letter to the state department of health asking it to compel the city of Cape Coral to reconnect the sewer line. And the state added, it encourages the use of other legal remedies like filing a lien against the property instead of capping the sewer.