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Ask Anthony: Septic tank mess forces Jacksonville business owner to close her doors

Almaz Woldetsadik and her cousin Edward Thomas came to First Coast News Anchor Anthony Austin for help.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In today's "Ask Anthony," a Jacksonville business owner came to me with a problem...and a mess.  

Almaz Woldetsadik says she went to the city for help with a new septic tank system.  But, she says, the only thing she's watching go down the drain is her money. 

"What's happening is all the water is seeping inside the building.  She has merchandise that's been destroyed by water damage.  The bathroom doesn't work.  She can't stay there. It's unhealthy," Edward Thomas explained.

Almaz Woldetsadik, and her cousin Edward Thomas, say pools of water sit outside and inside Almaz's food store on West 45th street on the city's northside. Almaz says she applied for assistance through the city to get her septic tank replaced.  She says the process took more than three years. 

Once a contractor was hired, the work began.  But she doesn't believe the work was done correctly. Almaz says she felt she was forced to pay the bill, even though the job wasn't complete.

Because of the mess, she says she can't run her business. So, she closed the doors in March.  

"I am very upset. I am very mad," Almaz Woldetsadik said. 

Now, she's losing money. She estimates more than $60,000 in lost revenue and merchandise.  On top of that, Almaz says she doesn't have a functioning a/c unit because of the water that pools up outside.

"Right now, we're just waiting for the city and the health department and the contractor to make good on their promise," Thomas responded. 

I reached out to the City of Jacksonville about the issue. A city representative says the city is only responsible for dispersing the funds of the grant program. They are not responsible for hiring the contractor. 

The city representative says they have done everything in their power to assist the business owner and have been in contact with the Department of Health.  They are encouraging the department to reach out to the contractor to come back and finish the job.

Remember, if you have a problem you can't solve, email AskAnthony@firstcoastnews.com 

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