Newport News family says HOA won’t help with serious plumbing issues in Courthouse Green

Posted at 11:18 PM, Apr 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-09 18:22:33-04

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A Newport News family asked NewsChannel 3 to take action for plumbing issues that have gone unresolved in their home.

William Barnes says he moved into a home in Courthouse Green with his wife and two young kids less than three years ago. Since then, he says his toilet overflowed sewage three times, including once on Saturday.

"All of the sudden the water backed up and the floor was covered with all sorts of everything on the floor," says Barnes. "I haven't been out here three years and it's the third time it's happened."

Barnes says the first two times their toilet overflowed, he called plumbers.

Each time, he says they ran a snake through the toilet, but Barnes was told the issue was beyond his property line.

Barnes says one plumber said not to flush any toilet paper. He says his family listened and it seemed to work for a while, until this weekend.

"We've had to bag it up and throw it out in the dumpster because we were advised not to do it, well, Saturday, paper came out of my toilet," he says. "So where did the paper come from? I have no idea."

Alan Benthall, an official with Newport News Public Works, says they went to Courthouse Green on Saturday after Barnes reported his problem.

Benthall says the city lines were clear, but Barnes' home uses private lines and the city has no responsibility over them.

He says the city has gotten ten calls to the area within the past year for similar reasons, but if it is not on city property they are unable to assist.

"My water went from clean to brown," says Barnes. "I got kids in the house, that's really not sanitary at all."

Barnes says he is told the private line, off his property, is causing the issue. He says that belongs to the Courthouse Green's homeowner's association.

He says he called, e-mailed, and even tried to drop by the office, but has gotten no response.

"I can't live in those conditions, I need someone to come out here and fix whatever is going wrong."

NewsChannel 3 reached out to the Courthouse Green First Homes Association.

After hearing Barnes' story on NewsChannel 3, Brenna Watkins, president, says she contacted her common area manager to have him get their contracted plumber to investigate.

She says if there is a backup on the HOA's line, it would back up all units on Barnes' row, and no other residents have reported problems.

Watkins says they take proactive steps to ensure backups do not occur by having problem lines jetted out twice a year and she also receives a report every time their plumbing company does a clean out.

"With 718 homes in our association, sewer backups are going to happen because residents continue to not listen to the numerous notifications to stop flushing non-flushable items," she says.

Watkins is now corresponding with the Barnes family about the issues.