MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Back in May, the night before Mother’s Day, Josh Parks noticed his house started having some plumbing issues.
“The house just started basically filling up with water, nothing would flush, nothing would drain,” he said.
With his wife about four months pregnant at the time, he frantically called in professional help. Parks never expected the repair to turn into a 10-foot hole in his driveway.
“Once, they dug up my driveway, there it was, just a large, orange, cable going right through my sewer line,” he said.
The cable came from a recent AT&T U-Verse installation in his Harvest neighborhood. Parks isn’t an AT&T customer, but he and his wife are certainly paying for it.
“For probably about two-and-a-half to three days, we couldn’t use any of the plumbing in our house,” he said. “We had to travel to family members’ houses and things like that just to get ready for work and to even take a shower or use the restroom.”
This isn’t the first community to be left a mess by this installation. Residents in a Madison neighborhood said an AT&T contractor left holes, trash and mounds of dirt in their yards for weeks.
For Parks, it took his plumber about two days to make the repairs, with a price tag of roughly $6,000. He also paid an additional $700 to have the hole in his driveway filled. Two months later, the repairs still aren’t complete, but the bills are piling up and the baby is on the way.
“It definitely gets your mind racing a little bit on how you’re going to handle things when that time comes,” he said.
In order to remedy the situation, Parks reached out to AT&T and filed a claim with the company. It then assigned an investigator to the case.
“She determined that the drilling company was at fault and that AT&T had no responsibility in it,” Parks said.
The company that AT&T hired to do the work is Delta Directional, a company based out of Newton, Mississippi, that specializes in horizontal directional drilling. Parks said he has had no luck with that company, too.
“I’ve spent the last two months, basically, trying to get the drilling company to take responsibility and pay for it and they’ve refused to, so far,” he said.
Parks said he also tried to go up the chain of command at AT&T for some guidance, but with no success.
“At this point, I’m just kind of out of options,” he said. “I’m just waiting to see if one of these two companies is going to accept responsibility for what they’ve done and take care of the bill because me and my wife are not at fault for this and we don’t feel like we should have to pay for it.”
Delta Directional provided this response:
“At Delta Directional, we employ the best available techniques to minimize surface disturbances when we install cable systems to serve consumers in Alabama neighborhoods. While we take every precaution in our work, residential sewer lines are rarely marked and can be damaged, as was the case with Mr. Parks in Harvest. All residents are given a number to call, if they experience problems. Delta Directional has the best equipment to make these repairs without damage to yards and driveways. Unfortunately, Mr. Parks did not call us and a simple repair that should have cost less than $400 escalated to over $9,000. Delta Directional is committed to covering reasonable repair costs for Mr. Parks and is seeking the needed documentation from the plumber to resolve this matter.”
A representative with the company told WHNT News 19 that Delta Directional received an itemized invoice of the repairs from the plumber Monday and will continue to work with Parks to resolve the issue.
Delta Directional also reiterated that prior to work in a neighborhood, each household will be provided with a door hanger that contains a specific phone number and job identification number should there be any issues. It is crucial to save that hanger to report problems.