For two weeks, the News 4 Tucson Investigators have been probing for answers into who is responsible for a disgusting sewer slip up that nearly forced a Marana couple from their home.
So far, the only clear fact is that 20 years ago, someone screwed up. And now the Carranza family is paying the price.
We showed you last month that the Carranza's driveway was essentially a bridge over sewage for the past two decades after someone didn't bother to connect their sewer line to the Pima County line.The News 4 Tucson Investigators went to the county for answers. Officials said they would use a special grant to pay for the repair. That was two weeks ago. Since then more questions have surfaced.
"One of our biggest questions coming out of this is how has this affected our home, structurally and financially," Jorge Carranza said.
The cleanup in the front is done. A big difference from the burbling toilet backed up with raw sewage that greeted them in the downstairs bathroom, last month.
"We had an idea that we were going to have to disclose this some day. We both wouldn't feel comfortable selling the house and not telling someone about this issue," he said.
Keller Willams Realtor Dina Hogg agreed. "It could adversely affect the purchase price and the marketability that the home-buyer is going to pay for the home. All of these known facts would need to be disclosed to any potential buyers so they can make an educated and informed decision," Hogg said.
She said the fact this house's sewer connection was never installed is the same kind of serious issue to a home as termites or vulnerable plumbing.
"You'll definitely have to disclose any facts that you are aware of. Even if the buyer or the real estate agent does not ask, you have to disclose per Arizona law," she said.
All of which leads to the question, will the Carranza's home lose value because 20 years ago, the builder, Richmond American homes never connected to the county sewer and at the same time, inspectors signed off saying the connection was made? We took our questions here to public works.
"What we found is that the house sewer connection, the house connection sewer that belongs to their home was actually approved by the town of Marana in November of 1995," said Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department director Jackson Jenkins. "So why that happened I cannot speak for the town of Marana or their inspectors, they'll need to answer that question."
When we first asked the county in September about this, officials here said Pima County signed off on the permit twenty years ago. But the county now says the county permit was only for the public sewer.
"The home connection sewer, the sewer that connects to the public sewer and runs to the home is the homeowners responsibility. That is the jurisdiction where the home was built, aka in marana and that was signed off by the town of Marana," Jenkins said.
"Pima County Wastewater will be looking to recuperate some of our costs which were several thousands of dollars, either from the town of Marana or the builder of those homes," he said.
Marana town officials say Pima County still hasn't spoken with anyone here about any forthcoming bills.
"All of this happened about twenty years ago, so at this point, it's difficult for us in this time frame to to figure out exactly what happened but I think the end goal is the town of Marana wants to provide excellent quality of life to our residents, we want to make sure we provide excellent customer service. So we want to to do this right. We want to do this right by the homeowners and we're happy to help in any way that we can," said Vickie Hathaway, Marana spokeswoman.
As for the Carranzas, the county removed yards of contaminated soil but still hasn't paid the family the more than $7,000 the Carranzas paid for the initial cleanup.
"This whole ordeal has been incredibly frustrating for us," Carranza said. "Someone's mistake put a family through all this. It's terrible. It's such a nightmare."
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