ANDREWS, S.C. (WCBD) – A sewer issue in the Town of Andrews has forced several businesses to close this week.

Jack Strong is the spokesperson for Have a Ball Produce on East Brooks Road. He said they reached out to the Department of Health and Environmental Control last week to report a major backup in their restroom.

“It was all over the floors. The stench from it is just, even out here in the parking lot you can smell the stench,” Strong said.

This week, they had to close their kitchen, as did other businesses including Burger King and Newton’s.

“We’re a small business, we’re a very small business. The people that work here, they need their paycheck. This is a slow time of the year anyway so any disruption in service is impacting us tremendously,” Strong told News 2.

According to a Facebook post from the Town of Andrews, a main sewer line was damaged when an AT&T communications tower was being built. Officials also said large amounts of cooking grease and other materials released into manholes contributed to the problem.

According to DHEC, Andrews was issued a consent order for noncompliance for their wastewater system last spring, which is still open. The Administrative Law Court also got involved. DHEC said the wastewater system remains unsatisfactory.

The department also went on to say:

“DHEC continues to be responsive to complaints related to this system. Wastewater issues can pose serious health risks and can make people very sick, especially in locations where food is being sold or consumed. After speaking with local business owners about those risks, some business owners in Andrews opted to voluntarily close their stores until the Town properly addresses its wastewater system issues. It is the responsibility of a public wastewater utility to ensure it operates in compliance with applicable state regulations, for the protection of people’s health and the environment.”

The town’s Facebook post said crews were working to fix the blockage, but according to businesses, the problem persisted on Friday.

Strong said he does not know when Have a Ball Produce will reopen. In the meantime, they hired a contractor to install a lift station.

“I can’t count on the town to fix this problem for us. We’re going to have to fix it ourselves,” Strong said.

Andrews mayor Frank McClary said the wastewater system is operating normally, but more work still needs to be done on the damaged sewer line. He urges businesses to check with DHEC before reopening.

Have a Ball Produce will hold a sidewalk sale on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to help ensure perishable items don’t go to waste.