Target 11 investigates septic company that didn't finish the job

by: Robin Taylor Updated:

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PITTSBURGH - When Anna Koontz contacted Target 11, she'd been waiting for months for someone to landscape her front lawn, which was filled with craters after a septic company dug everything up and then left it a mess.

I did a little digging and found out the septic company she hired had a bad reputation with the Better Business Bureau and they didn't come back until I got involved.

"I used to go down and get the mail all the time.  It gave me a place to walk," said Koontz, 92, of Saltzburg, Pa.

She relies on a cane and can’t walk across the lawn now for fear of falling.

In February, Anna hired A-Affordable Sanitation, based in Smithton, Pa, to fix her clogged septic tank at her home in Indiana County.

The company dug up the front lawn, solved the problem, and then left, promising to come back later to repair the damage.

"They never finished their job.  Their job was to level everything off again.  The man said they would come out with a load of topsoil," said Koontz.

Anna called in May, and then in June.  She even hired a lawyer, but A-Affordable Sanitation didn't come back.

"You can't even walk in here safely.  I can't mow it," said Sandy Koontz, Anna’s son, as he showed us clumps of tall grass in the front lawn.

The grass has grown in covering the craters, but they're there.  Some of the holes are 8 inches deep and there are hidden crevices you could easily trip over.

"There are places like here where the grass grows up.  You wouldn't necessarily see this hole, or certainly this hole," said Sandy Koontz.

I paid a visit to A-Affordable sanitation to get their side of the story.  The office is in an unmarked trailer on a country road in Smithton.  The company has a D rating with the Better Business Bureau.

The owner's daughter, Samantha Skokut, wouldn't go on camera, but she told me, "We're trying to get back as soon as possible." 

Samantha blamed the delay on a busy schedule.  She said they are a small company with just three workers and they haven’t been able to keep up with the landscaping.  Seventeen other customers also need their yards cleaned up.

"Trust me.  I do not feel good about this situation," said Skokut. 

Since my visit, A-Affordable Sanitation sent a crew out and took care of the lawn.

Before hiring a contractor, check to see what kind of reputation they have and make sure to get competitive bids.  Then get a detailed description of the work that’s to be performed in writing.  That could save you a lot of headaches.

This article was written by Target 11 consumer investigator Robin Taylor.