JACKSONVILLE, Fla — Phil and Jana Rice have a septic tank on their West Jacksonville property and it belongs to their neighbor.
Not only that, but it is opened, which means it is failing and is now a safety hazard.
"It has been opened since August or September," Phil Rice said."It has been six months like that."
The Rice Family purchased the vacant land in 2017 and then cleared it so they could build.
"We didn't pay attention to it because it wasn't on the survey," he said.
In 2018, while they were building their dream home they realized the septic tank was on their property.
A contractor notified them that he was there to work on it.
"I was like what?" said Jana Rice. "And that's when I started calling the Florida Department of Health.
D.O.H. is the regulatory agency on septic tanks. She said since October 2018 she has been trying to get this resolved with help from the health agency.
"I beg them and beg them for months," she said.
Now she has reached the conclusion that the state agency failed them.
"We have now a four-foot hole you know with sewage that we smell every day," said Phil Rice.
Nothing happened the couple says until they called the city's Municipal Code Enforcement Division.
"I think this might go back decades that nobody knew it was there," he said.
Apparently the original property owner divided a large tract of property and sold them individually.
On Jan. 24, the Department of Health posted a warning on the front door saying "Do not occupy."
On Feb. 10, the City of Jacksonville code enforcement division issued an emergency order and condemned the property.
"They're using their bathroom and it is coming on your property," Phill Rice said.
The Rice family said bacteria from the open tank made their daughter sick, twice. They want the tank pumped and filled with dirt and gone from their property. They wanted it done as soon as possible.