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New house, Septic/leach Field Replacement placed in escrow whois wrong

3 years ago

Hi Everyone. I'm posting a mess of a question in hopes to receive some help on ideas on how to handle this issue, Of course, I'm accountable for my own actions, I'm a very understanding person generally, however, I'm just trying to tread lightly here and get a grasp on the reality of it.

We purchased a home a few months ago, we closed at the very beginning of the covid outbreak.

When the septic was tested, I was told it needed replaced, and the estimate would be put into Escrow with our title company. We closed, and have been living here for 2-3 months now without issue. The only thing I was told, was effluent was at the surface.

I had tried to get information on it specifically before closing, during and after. I was just being told that it was up to the health department and they haven't figured it out yet, but it would be up to code and fully functional, but it would be a " replacement". They gave an estimate of $11,000, So $16,000 was held in Escrow.

3 months have passed, the seller, and sellers agent have been harassing the company that he hired to do the work, They kept saying " it had to dry out first". I agreed, Obviously i'm the one who deals with the mess if it is installed in poor conditions. It's a well known local company, I had originally thought highly of them.

So, Anyway, We get a call 3 days before they start working. I'm not told what is happening, or going to happen, I ask, And I was told that I could " talk to one of the guys" when they get here.

We purchased this house because it had a .85 acre flat lot, Literally, probably 70 percent of the reason. We have 4 small children and it was just a requirement for us. one guy shows up a day early, and says " hey, Is it cool If I leave this here" Its a mini backhoe. So I said, Of course.

The next day, a fleet of vehicles, trailers, a skid steer, and about 15-25 loads of sand and dirt in my front yard, one of those giant 18 wheeler looking dump trucks. All i was told was " sand is on the way, it's going here" and he pointed. I mean, anyone in their right mind would assume some type of care would be taken.

Anyway, Once everyone arrives I try to go out and talk to them, but the main guy ( the owner of the company's son) was very " hasty" with his responses and generally provided no help. I continued to ask what was being done, all I'm told is a new 1,000 gallon tank and a leach field, from one of the workers. Okay, Whatever sounds good.

About 5 minutes later, I was asked, do you know where your property line is, I said 'not specifically, no". I wasn't told if this had any impact or importance.

So, 3 hours later, they install the new 1,000 gallon tank, only to find out they are leaving the original tank, and attaching this new tank. Okay... So its like turning a 1 tank system into a 3 tank system ( like the newer one's have). I was told "Yup".

At this point, I'm not told anything without specifically walking up to someone, stopping them, and firmly asking. I found out that they are leaving the entire system original ( from watching them, not from them telling me although I asked multiple times and explicitly stated I had not a single clue what they were installing). Even then, The boss man got agitated and would immediately get on to the person I was speaking with.

I then catch the " boss man" dig up an active water line to the mobile home at the end of the lot ( we own it also) He's just digging away, sees it, and tries to hide it with dirt. Again, Agitated, But I was pretty pissed at this point. I had to forcefully get into his way of using his backhoe for him to stop. He said " oh, yea, thats an old line, no big deal". When I told him it was an active water line that he just dug up, That I had turned it off just in-case, He looked pretty red in the face but said " no problem, ill fix it tomorrow" and covered everything back up with dirt.

They start scraping up 1/3 of my yards usable space directly behind the house, so I ask, What is that for, You know, thinking they are marking the ground where the new leach field will go. I'm told " thats for the new field system" I asked how big it was going to be, because that's the space for the kids to play. He tells me something like 25x80 feet- Okay whatever, just asking.

Turns out, they started building mounds of sand, So clearly I was like " woah, what the hell are you doing??" he then explains, oh, it will only be about 1.5 feet tall, the system is going above ground.

So clearly, My mind is racing at this point and I'm Livid, I talk to my wife, and decide against telling them all to leave until this is figured out, In fear that would somehow breach the contract with the seller and they wouldn't be responsible for the costs.

the next day, MY ENTIRE ( well, 85-90 percent) front yard is destroyed, its all uneven dirt/sand remnants, when it was a completely flat lot, No grass left, I'm sure you get the picture.

When I look outside, the mounds are almost 3 feet tall in the backyard. At this point, this clearly isn't anything that was told to us, or we agreed to in any way. At this point, I'd rent a damn port-a-potty for the rest of the time we live here instead of that.

When the health inspector got here, I had a chat with him and he cleared up quite a bit, Since he is the one who required it. Turns out, He said, when he did the testing, 8" down and 12" down across the yard was standing water, ( groundwater) and the current field is 3 feet down, So, It can't function underwater and it was backing up into the septic tank ( above the exit port, which I was NEVER told about). That this was the only system that would work for this property. He then explained that it was a pump tank being installed, not an expansion to the tank, and above ground leach field was the only option. Even the septic "boss man" said it was rare within a like 200 mile radius of us( he gave 3 examples that are hours away from us, that I deduced to 200 miles in general).

I proceed to ask him the most important question of all in my opinion " What about the 17,000 gallons of water that was flushed through the system when you did that test". Backstory, When we requested the tank be inspected, and he did this test, no realtor, or anyone else used the "lockbox" to enter the home until we did the walkthrough. It was something like 300 gallons of water for the test, and XX days later he did the testing of the ground. Well, when we did the walk-through, it was on, we received a $1,000 water bill in the sellers name, for the same time period. We pressed our realtor, the sellers realtor over and over about how this may have skewed the results of the septic, They said " its not a big deal, the seller will have to pay the bill".

I do want to add, When I asked this question, the inspector's face changed, he even gulped. then the septic company and the health department stared at each other in silence for a moment, before the health inspector proceeded to say " well someone must have left it on after I left" While the septic " boss man" stared me down, I mean longer than anyone in the two days here have received eye contact with him. He walked away, health department guy left it at that. After that, both of them seemed even more salty with me.

My point is, 100% percent I have basically harassed for this information to be given to us, before, and after closing and told our realtor to let us know since we wanted to approve it on what we was told was a " whole septic replacement". I also on multiple occasions pressed this water issue ( the 17,000 gallons) telling them I bet it doesn't even need replaced. Again, who cares, sellers agreed to it already.

All in all, I feel this will DEFINITELY devalue the home, and it has removed the entire reason we chose this property( yard space), we would have never agreed to, or purchased this home under these conditions. I would have discussed alternatives, or another location for the field, instead of a giant heaping unusable space in our main yard. From what I can find searching, asking, and driving by, this type of system is unheard of around here. The water table has to raise 30 some feet before it floods our home, So about 25 feet to be level with the yard.

Also, The previous owner who lived here for 20 years, stopped by to tell us that this house isn't worth the appraisal, that they left off the flood in 1997. The situation with that, after 20 years he was forclosed on, a local foot doctor purchased this place, flipped it and sold it to us. He made it a point to tell me I should sue him, That he on multiple occasions said he should include that information on the disclosure, which he signed a " waiver" stating he didn't live here long enough to know of any issues instead of a disclosure. The entire time our realtor reassured us this was normal, and okay.

My issue with the company doing the work, the " boss man" won't talk to you like his life depends on every single minute, and won't let anyone else talk to me either. He dug up, and tried to hide 3 separate issues. ( Water line, an old inactive cable and satellite cable). I only care about the water line though.

they have been throwing every bit of their trash into the holes in our yard, then proceeding to back-fill over it, Including food trash, water bottles, Gatorade bottles, basically anything they have. Some of this is even going into the new leach field. I found a bag of " doughnuts' on top of my new A/C unit getting ready to fall inside that they left.

I think the most annoying part, Is that this "new" system is only an add on to the old system. The new " tank" and leach field are HIGHER than the original leach field, meaning it will only come into use, when the old field backs up! They used a T on the original line, that has about a 1 foot raise before it goes into the new tank. Something else that was weird, CLEAR water was draining out of the septic tank when they cut the line.

Basically, I feel like not only did none of this need to be done due to someone's error with flooding our yard with 17,000 gallons of water, and inability to alert the right person of this mistake, But it has also devalued our home, as well if a home being flooded before devalues it more. Let alone the now unusable space.

I'm ready to just walk away from the mortgage and all and tell them all where to stick it, but then in my opinion the people who made these mistakes are not held accountable for their actions, and someone else is left with footing the bill.

In your opinion, what would you do ( aside from contacting a lawyer)?

Is this normal, and i'm just being " that guy" over it?

I'm genuinely lost within this mess, which I feel is what everyone is counting on. So any help IS appreciated.

I have tried to be as detailed as possible, but would definitely answer any further questions about this.

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