NAUGATUCK — Americo Novo wants answers.
He wants to know why his driveway has sunk four inches in less than a year, why he and his disabled mother have to clean water from their mold-infested basement every two hours and why water has been pouring through his yard and into his home, all of a sudden, over the past year.
Novo, a 45-year-old military veteran who is also on disability, lives at 127-129 Andrew Ave. in a duplex-style house with his mother, Maria. They have complained to borough officials for several months about the groundwater problems at their property, as have neighbors, but so far nobody can figure out why they have been experiencing so many water problems.
Americo Novo said the problems started around the same time the company that operates the Horizon Homes apartment complex above them at 151 Andrew Ave., Garden Homes Management Corp., had some construction work done to their parking lot and gas lines last year. However, he has not been able to prove that the water problems are related to the construction.
Earlier this year, Novo contacted Garden Homes, which sent a representative to his house and inspected the area. A company vice president sent him a letter stating that the company believes the problem is not related to any site work, past or present. Garden Homes also stated in the letter that it would “vigorously contest any legal action” Novo takes against the company.
At this point, Novo has not contacted an attorney. He said the company has enough money to drag out the court process, whereas he does not.
“I’d be fighting a million-dollar-plus company, and I can’t afford to do that,” he said.
He has contacted Borough Engineer Wayne Zirolli, who also investigated the property. Zirolli said he also does not believe there is a problem being caused at Horizon Homes, nor by Yankee Gas, which performed the gas line upgrades during construction at Horizon Homes last year.
Zirolli suggested the footing drain for the house may be partially clogged or inadequate, and that a curtain drain needs to be installed at the rear of the house to adequately control the groundwater affecting the house. Finally, he said the existing drainage from the house and the retaining wall, plus any proposed drainage system, needs to be tied into the borough’s street drainage to prevent water from the property flowing onto Andrew Avenue and causing an icy road during cold weather.
This past winter, the ice patch was severe in front of Novo’s property and property owned by his neighbor, Vin Cascella, who also has noticed several problems with his property and said they just started happening recently.
Other issues that Novo has experienced include damage to his home foundation, the destruction of a rock wall on his side yard and severe water and mold damage to his basement and garage, including items in the garage. His driveway has also been damaged, he said.
“We bought this house nine years ago and there were never any water issues; there was a solid foundation,” he said. “We would have never bought this house had there been any of these problems. … Our house is slowly being destroyed.”