On Your Side: Well drilled in Midlothian leads to smelly water woes

On Your Side: Well drilled in Midlothian leads to smelly water woes
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12

MIDLOTHIAN, VA (WWBT) - Robert Hansen and his wife have lived in Midlothian for more than 30 years. He says they enjoyed good well water for years - until an earthquake a couple years ago that caused some underground shifting and forced him to have another well drilled. He called Appomattox Well Drilling, the company that drilled the first well decades ago, and paid $5000 for the job.

"The water stinks so bad in the shower, you can hardly stand it," Hansen said. "I mean, it's a stink that you...I mean, I could describe it, but you wouldn't want it on television."

The company drilled the well and installed the pump and all necessary parts. Now the Hansen's have plenty of water, but there's a problem.

"Now you're gonna really smell it," Hansen said.

The water stinks. The strong sulfuric odor is potent at an outdoor spigot. There's an odor inside too...even after the water goes through a filtration system set up in his garage.

"And you wash clothes, it fills the house up with that," Hansen said. "You take a shower, it fills the bathroom up with that. You open the doors and filters into the house."

Hansen says the problem is two fold: the odor of the water and the large amount of sediment in it.

He says Appomattox has made about a dozen trips to his home trying to fix the problem. The company installed two aerators at the pump.

"It aerates the water in the well, so the sulfur smell is gone," Hansen said. "It works beautifully, I mean we were so surprised at how well it worked."

But both times the heavy sediment clogged the aerators, rendering them inoperable. He says a filter the company installed did not keep the sediment out either. It traveled to his home and damaged one of his tanks that had to be replaced.

Hansen says he called the company earlier this month, and the owner told him he was done trying to work with him. That's when Hansen reached out to 12 On Your Side.

On Your Side Investigator Eric Philips called Appomattox Well Drilling. The owner, Herbie Jones, told Philips he went above and beyond the call of duty to help Mr. Hansen. He sent Philips a price list that states the company guaranteed water, but not the quality of that water. He said when Mr. Hansen threatened to report the company to the state, he stopped working with him.

Philips also called the Virginia Well Water Association. They backed up what the contractor said, suggesting Hansen should call a separate company that does filtration for more relief.

Meanwhile, Hansen doesn't believe he got what he was verbally promised.

"Unfortunately, I didn't do a contract with them," Hansen said.

The thought of spending more money to fix this does not make him happy.

"I'm not. I'm just not."

This is another example of why it's necessary to get everything in writing ... that way, when there's a dispute after a job is done, you have a leg to stand on.

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