Safety Harbor man left with mess for months after utility worker hit sewage pipe

Better Call Behnken

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. (WFLA) – Dean Drexler was sitting on his couch watching TV when he heard the sound of water flowing.

He and his wife were doing laundry and suddenly water backed up in the laundry room and in their toilet. Before they could figure out what was happening and turn off the water, their first story was drenched in a couple of inches of nasty water.

“I thought there was something wrong with our pipes, so I called a plumber,” Drexler said.

There was something wrong, but not at his house. It turns out Duke Energy had hired a contractor, F&H, to run a line under the ground in front of Drexler’s home. He had no idea that they had hit his sewage pipe days earlier. The amount of water running through the pipes for the washing machine sent water rushing back to his house.

He says the plumber told him to call the city of Safety Harbor, and city workers and F&H both came to check out the issue.

“They both pointed fingers at each other, and walked away,” Drexler said.

Three months have gone by and neither the city nor Duke and F&H stepped up to help Drexler fix his damaged home.

The contracting company maintains the mistake wasn’t their workers’ fault and that they hit the pipe because city workers marked the lines wrong.

After calls from Investigative Reporter Shannon Behnken, a spokeswoman or Duke Energy said the utility wants their customer to be taken care of. As a result, F&H, she said, has agreed to work with Drexler to fix his home. Better Call Behnken will stay on this story until that happens.

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