RIPON, Calif. (CBS13) — When Allan Sloan hired a plumber to get to the bottom of his chronic plumbing problems, he discovered his home had never been connected to the city's sewer line.
For more than 23 years, the Ripon resident's waste had been deposited underneath his front lawn.
Sloan said sewage backed up into his home on a recent Friday night through the shower, toilet and sink, filling the house with a foul odor and forcing him to call for help.
"It just backed up tremendously, it was just disgusting," Sloan said.
The plumber dug into the residence's front lawn and found a problem he had never seen before: A 4-foot-wide gap where the connecting pipe was supposed to link the home with the city pipeline.
"Everything that was going into the toilet was coming out and was in my front yard," Sloan said.
Sloan called the city, who had given the home a clean bill of health in an inspection decades ago, and asked them to pay for his plumbing bill.
The city denied his claim twice. Attorneys told him he should have discovered the problem a long time ago.
"What's a home owner to do? Dig a hold in their front yard to see if the sewage system is hooked up?" Sloan said.
The city finally agreed to a refund his municipal sewer bills over the years, since he had been paying for a connection that didn't exist. The total refund came out to approximately $1,800.
The problem has been repaired, but the sudden absence of regular "fertilization" may keep his lawn from looking so lush.
"I did have a pretty nice lawn out there, that's for sure," Sloan laughed.
Ripon officials said it's unclear how the missing connection was overlooked by inspectors but believe it's unlikely that any other households are facing the same problem.