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Telecom Fiber Lines The Source Of North Texas Homeowner's Plumbing Problems

HEATH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Michael Mahan of Heath says it suddenly became clear Christmas Eve there was a problem with his pipes.

"Everything's backing up the showers are an inch deep in water, nothing's flushing, nothing's going down," he said.

Plumbers got to work, suspecting a tree root might be blocking a line.

"What we found," he said, searching for the right words. "I don't think they could have done that if they tried."

Two fiber optic lines, one belonging to AT&T, the other to Suddenlink, were cutting through his sewage connection.

"I couldn't believe. They both hit dead center in the middle of it," Mahan said.

Sewage pipe cut
Sewage pipe cut (Andrea Lucia - CBS 11)

He remembers AT&T laid a line two-and-a-half years ago and Suddenlink sometime after.

Back then, he was single, and even a partially blocked pipe seems to have taken care of business.

Today, he's married with a wife, son, and his mother living with him.

"We put a lot of pressure on the system and that's when we noticed the problem," said Mahan.

Since Christmas, he's been trying to get the issue taken care of.

"Who do you blame? Like we don't care. We just want our toilets to flush," he said.

Mahan says no plumber wanted to risk cutting AT&T or Suddenlink's lines and, as of Thursday, neither company had shown up.

So, CBS 11 reached out to both.

The next morning, an AT&T crew was at his front door.

By the afternoon, a Suddenlink contractor had arrived, as well.

"When they showed up this morning, I was super happy, like 'Thank you!'" said Mahan.

In a statement to CBS 11, AT&T wrote:

"As we work to expand and enhance our fiber network to deliver ultra-high speeds to communities, our goal is to minimize the impacts on residents as much as possible. We instruct our contractors to follow all necessary procedures to have utilities located before they begin work. We are working with our contractor to make repairs and restore any impacts from our work."

By sunset, the company's crews had repaired the damage.

And Mahan, after some delay, finally got the Christmas gift he's been after.

"All I want for Christmas is my toilet to flush," he said, laughing.

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