Basement flooding misdiagnosed, Cincinnati plumber blamed

Basement flooding misdiagnosed, Cincinnati plumber blamed

COMPLAINT: Joanne Dalton, Cincinnati

"One of Tarvin Plumbing's plumbers made the assumption the water in my basement was from heavy rainfall, so we discussed estimates for installing a sump pump.

"Later, I was in the basement when someone let out the bathwater in my upstairs bathroom, and the water came up the drain into the laundry room.

"A second plumber ran water down the drain in my laundry room, and it backed into my furnace room. He pulled the top off my septic tank and found it filled with water. My septic tank had stopped draining due to roots in the outtake pipe.

"Because it had backed up in the tank, the aerator motor had been under water for weeks and needed to be replaced.

"Had the original plumber from Tarvin lifted the lid on the tank when I first had him come out, my motor might have been spared, and I would not have spent three weeks mopping my basement.

"I now have an extra $1,500 bill. Tarvin eventually sent me a check for $140 and an apology.

DESIRED RESOLUTION: "I would like additional compensation to replace the motor on my septic tank."

COMPANY RESPONSE: Michael Tarvin, president/owner, Tarvin Plumbing Company

"The original plumber did not visually observe any evidence of sewage backup. Weeks later, when the second plumber arrived, he immediately found evidence of sewage backup, so he pulled up the septic tank lid to determine it was full, which indicated its stoppage was beyond the realm of our services.

"Consequently, the motor in the septic tank could have been damaged well before the first request for service. We are not willing to pay for a damaged motor, as we do not believe we are responsible for the conditions that caused the damage.

"Roots in the system caused the system to back up and damage the motor, not perceived failure to raise the tank lid on first visit."

STATUS: Stalemate.

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Dan Cox


I think the Plumbing Company reply is absolutely correct. The back-up was not caused by anything they did, it was a case of the homeowner not maintaining the septic system properly and showing due diligence to keep the roots from blocking the outlet pipe of the septic tank. Plumbing ends at the point in which the main waste pipe exits the foundation. If the homeowner is looking for a scape goat to pay for their own negligence, blame the Septic Company for not removing the roots from the pipe when they last serviced the tank. Of course that was not done recently, again showing a lack of responsibility on the homeowners part.

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