Tow truck driver crushes St. Pete homeowner’s old septic tank, tries to fill hole with dirt

Better Call Behnken

State regulations require a permit and a licensed contractor to abandon a septic tank safely

ST. PETERSBURG , Fla. (WFLA) – Annette Botham was inside her home when she heard a loud noise and ran outside to see a tow truck in her yard.

The tow truck, from Upman’s Towing in Sarasota, was delivering a car to a neighbor’s home. The driver backed up and over, crushing the concrete cover of an old septic tank in Bothham’s yard.

“I didn’t even know that was there and I’ve lived here 30 years,” Botham said.

Now she’s stuck with a mess. Since July 7, she’s covered the hole with boards and a tarp. She said the tow truck company sent the driver back out to fix the hole but he just dumped a truckload of dirt in the hole.

Rain and settlement made it worse – and now it stinks and is just as dangerous.

She said Upman’s Towing said they would send the driver back with more dirt, but he never showed up.

That’s when she knew she’d Better Call Behnken.

“I need to get this resolved,” she said. “I don’t even know if it’s the proper thing to do to just fill it with dirt, or how should this be resolved, now that I know it’s a septic tank.”

Owner Randy Upman told Investigator Shannon Behnken that his driver should have never drove over the neighbor’s property. He explained that the City of St. Petersburg said filling the hole with dirt was fine.

Well, that’s not the case. The Pinellas County Health Department says the septic tank must be abandoned properly, and that requires a permit. The liquid must be pumped out, the concrete ground up and the hole needs to be leveled.

Upman said he wants to take care of this right way. He called Largo’s Mullen Septic & Drainfield Service and prepaid for the work.

The permit is being processed, and the work is expected to begin Wednesday.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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