A neighbor's plumber left 15-foot trench in woman's yard. Months later, it's still there.

Yolanda Reed-Fisher comes home briefly each afternoon during the week to make sure her 17-year-old son, who has autism, gets safely inside the house after school.

One afternoon last November, Reed-Fisher was headed to her Pensacola home on Guillemard Street when she turned the corner and saw something that wasn’t there when she left the house that morning – a big trench in her backyard.

“I'm like what is that in my yard? What is that going on back there?” Reed-Fisher said. “They had it dug up. I'm like, ‘Man, there’s a big hole in my backyard. Who's done this? What's going on? What work is going on?' ”

Reed-Fisher initially thought it was work being done by Emerald Coast Utilities Authority (ECUA), the organization that provides water, wastewater and sanitation services to Escambia County and the city of Pensacola. She figured they would soon wrap up the project and fill in the gaping 15-foot long, 5-foot deep trench that exposed her sewer line.

However, it wasn’t an ECUA project. The home next door was being remodeled and plumbers wanted to access the sewer line on Reed-Fisher’s property as part of the project, she said.

The men working in her yard told her the city of Pensacola had given them permission to go on her property and do the work.

“The guys said, ‘(The city) told us that we could dig on the easement.’ I'm like, ‘This is not an easement. You are literally in my backyard,’" Reed-Fisher said. “I could tell where they had been driving their trucks in my backyard, because I had just cleaned back there, it’s an area full of grass. Now I’ve got this big eyesore back there, 15 feet across and 5 feet in the ground. It’s a literal trench.”

Reed-Fisher works at Pensacola City Hall. She contacted both the city inspections and permitting offices, as well as ECUA, about the legality of what the plumbers were doing. She found the company, Apexx Plumbing, had applied for a permit the same day work started.

“I spoke with city inspections, and he said, ‘Oh, if it's something between you and the property owner next door, it's a civil issue and we can't get involved,'” Reed-Fisher recounted. “I said, ‘But you've given them the approval to go on my property and do this' and so he's like, ‘Well, they weren't supposed to start the work yet. We could send one of our guys, our inspectors by to see what they've done.'”

Four months later, the trench is still there, and Reed-Fisher is still waiting for answers and her property to be returned to normal. Not only is the pipe exposed across her yard, but part of it is open and toilet paper and sewage can been seen inside, although it's not leaking out. The crews also placed a large blue barrel over a section where the pipes meet to collect any sewage while they were working on it, Reed-Fisher said.

She contacted the owner of the property next door about the issue, but said her calls have not been returned. She said city inspectors also told her they would contact the plumbing company to resolve the issues they created, but she hasn’t seen any progress.

Since work on the pipe started, she said she now has issues with water pressure inside her house. She received an estimate of nearly $1,300 from another plumbing company to fix it. The quote states it’s needed to clean “debris” out of her water lines and plumbing fixtures that were clogged from cutting and repairing the line in her backyard.

You may like: Escambia man discovers home he's been renting to own for a decade has already been sold

Reed-Fisher contacted a legal aid attorney who said Apexx Plumbing assured him they would soon address the trench and the water issues she was having in her own home.

If not, the attorney said she could have cause for a civil action over nuisance conditions. Even though the crews were permitted to do the work on her property, they aren’t allowed to leave it in that condition.

The News Journal spoke with a woman who answered the phone at Appex Plumbling about the situation. She did not want to comment, but indicated they were just learning about the issue, and she would contact the owner of the plumbing company for a response. No additional comment has been given.

According to the city of Pensacola, there is still an active plumbing permit for the property next door to Reed-Fisher's home and the plumbing contractor has not yet requested an inspection, indicating the work is ongoing. The city said the plumbers have until May 15, to schedule the inspection.

Reed-Fisher purchased her home through Habitat for Humanity in 2012 and is close to paying off her mortgage. She said the delays and lack of response to her concerns has been frustrating. She and her family can't enjoy her backyard because she doesn't want her autistic son near the foxhole-sized trench for fear he could get hurt. She wants the property she worked for and is proud of returned back to normal.

“I've had the home since 2012, but never experienced anything like this before. I thought for a while there are no citizen’s rights when it comes to property in Pensacola,” Reed-Fisher said. “I just want them to make it right. I just want them to put my yard back.”

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Pensacola permitted Apexx Plumbing work in Guillemard Street home