DESOTO COUNTY -- Two-year-old Taylor Hoppel came in from a half-hour of outside play last week, her face beet-red, and hacking almost uncontrollably.
Taylor and her 4-year-old sister, Lyndsey, are not allowed to play outside anymore and their mother threw away all their playground toys.
Tracy Hoppel is convinced that the sludge-dumping site next door to them is making her children ill -- over and over again-
The physician's office told Tracy that Taylor had a bronchial infection, probably due to "something she breathed in." Both girls have had the rotavirus, a fecal-oral, airborne virus that causes extreme vomiting and diarrhea. Lyndsey almost had to be hospitalized for related dehydration.
"This is an airborne virus," Tracy Hoppel said. "I know in my heart, with the north winds blowing toward us, it's more concentrated in the air, and it's blowing right on our property."
Complaints like these have pushed DeSoto County commissioners to draft an ordinance that would make stricter rules for sludge dumping in the county.
'I'm not a vicious person," Tracy Hoppel. said. "But this is making me bitter."
A mile away, it reeks and the smell of human waste clings to your nostrils and feels like it's blocking out the air you need to breathe.
You feel like it clings to your hair and clothes and you wonder what it does to the people who live around this field at 6837 N.E. U.S. 17.
"Do you know how violated it makes us feel," asked David Hoppel. "You can't really tell what damage this is going to do -- to our well water, to the Peace River..."
The family has a well but they sure don't drink the water, he said.
The Hoppel's live next to property owned by Jerry Eagle, who owns Anytime Septic
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