Can’t Fix Septic System

(WSVN) - Now here is an unusual one. Your septic system breaks, but you can’t repair it because a city water line runs through your yard. Are you stuck with a house with no toilets? Maybe not, if you put in a call to Channel 7’s Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Gigi saw the house, she knew.

Gigi de Rougemont: “We loved it from the minute we saw it, and we decided that was it for us.”

It’s an older property in Hollywood, so Gigi could see some things that needed fixing. It’s something she couldn’t see that’s stumped her.

Gigi de Rougemont: “It belongs to the city, yet it runs through my property.”

A long time ago, probably in the ’60s, Hollywood ran a water line under her property to feed a fire hydrant. There’s no record they got permission to do it, and now 60 years later it’s created a problem.

Gigi de Rougemont: “We have to make the drain field 10 feet away from the pipe, and there’s no space to put a drain field.”

Gigi needs a new drain field because the one in her yard has died, making life inside difficult.

Gigi de Rougemont: “You can’t flush the toilet too much because it backs up, everything backs up, and we’re having to drain the septic tank now every other week or so because of that, at quite a costly price.”

Since they can’t put a new drain field in with the city’s rusty steel water pipe in her yard, Gigi called Hollywood to move or remove the pipe.

They had two solutions.

Gigi de Rougemont: “You can either do it ourselves and pay for the cost, or they’ll take care of it, but it will take a year.”

Gigi can’t believe it would take the city a year to take care of a problem a plumber could resolve in a day or two.

Gigi de Rougemont: “That’s unacceptable.”

It’s a mess, literally and figuratively.

Gigi de Rougemont: “They’re taking their time, and I’m suffering the consequences in my home. I feel like a hostage. That’s the right word for it.”

There are no documents that show if the pipe was put in legally, and no way to fix a sewage problem because the pipe is there. Howard, what can Gigi do?

Howard Finkelstein: “Since the city’s pipe was hidden on the property, and there is no proof the city had permission to put it there, that pipe is trespassing. It’s what the law calls inverse condemnation, meaning they have destroyed the value of your property by their illegal action. If the city won’t remove it, you can take them to court, where a judge will force them to do it, or to compensate you for the loss of your house.”

But can the city wait a year to resolve the problem?

Howard Finkelstein: “No. They have a reasonable amount of time, and a house without a septic system is useless, so the city has to find a solution within days, not months.”

Gigi de Rougemont: “So, Help Me Howard really came through for us.”

Give the City of Hollywood credit. After we spoke to them, they disconnected the water line on Gigi’s property that was running to the fire hydrant. They’ll replace it in a year or so, meaning Gigi can now put in her new drain field.

Gigi de Rougemont: “And again, thanks to Help Me Howard, we are able to have our home back and function the way it’s meant to be functioned.”

We are so lucky to be able to help people. Now, Gigi has the permit and is ready to put in the new drain field. The city will use a different pipe to feed water to the fire hydrant. Why does it take a year to do that? We were told it requires a lot of planning to run a pipe for a fire hydrant.

A stinking mess fouling up your life? Ready to flush it out of your way? Contact us, and see if we can get a solution in the pipeline for you.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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