I loved my front lawn and I loved my backyard. They were beautiful. I bought my house in large part, because of the yards. I figured it was a great place for my kids to play. We even built a treehouse in the ancient oak in the back.
We were enormously happy with our new home. The neighborhood was nice and my kids loved their new school. I loved mowing the lawn. I even bought a cheap riding mower and rode it around with a beer in my hand on Sundays. The kids loved the treehouse and chasing the dog around the backyard, which also featured a wonderful ten-foot high fence.
All of that joy melted away one morning when I looked out on the backyard and saw what looked to be black stains in the grass. On closer examination, the stain turned out to be more of a sludge, which seemed to be bubbling up from the ground. It smelled like chemicals and death.
I was on hold with the City Department of Public Works for ages. It seems that they did not have enough operators to effectively handle the giant influx of calls from hundreds of others like me who had found their yards slowly transforming into swamps.
It ended up taking over a week for the city to clean up all the yards in our neighborhood. While we were waiting, we watched our wonderful grass and garden drown under the toxic waste, and the oak began to lose some leaves. The dog had to be walked to an unaffected park down the street to do his business, and the kids couldn’t play outside.
After the sludge was removed, we found that it had also done damage to the foundation. We had to get a lawyer to take the city to court to pay for that damage. It took another three months, and we never even found out what chemicals that factory had dumped. If you have been the victim of some sort of environmental mismanagement, make sure to get a lawyer as soon as you can, or this kind of process can drag out forever.