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Septic Systems

Alameda County, CA.  Served as expert witness in a case involving the failure of a leach field of a septic tank system at a very large single family home shortly after the leach field was constructed.  While channeling the overflowing sewage away from the residence, the home owner contracted Giardia Lamblia and was banned by health officials from working for six weeks at his normal job, which involved food preparation.   Investigations revealed that the Contractor had not followed the requirements of the County Health Department and had constructed less leach line than was offered in his proposal.

Failure to Disclose, Leach Field Failure, San Diego, CA.  Provided technical advice to an attorney representing sellers of a home who were sued for failing to disclose problems with the leach field.  The Sellers had a problem with the leach field a year before selling the house and had had it repaired.  The Buyers lived in the house for a year before there was another problem with the leach field.  The problem occurred when the average monthly rainfall was double the normal amount.  Issues included statistical probability of leach field problems in rainy years, the cost of repair and the Standard of Care.

Cesspool Failure, City of Los Angeles.  Advised on the failure of a cesspool at an expensive private residence in the City of Los Angeles.  The purchaser of the residence was not informed that an older cesspool had failed and had been filled in.  Attempts to construct a new cesspool were unsuccessful and the house had to be vacated.

Hepatitis Infection from Surfacing Septic Tank Effluent, Marin County.  Provided expert technical advice on a suit where the children of a farm worker were alleged to have contracted hepatitis from exposure to surfacing septic tank effluent.

Death from Septic Tank Dry Well, Ventura County.  Unbeknownst to the present homeowners, the septic tank system of their home was equipped with a dry well, rather than a conventional leach field.  The dry well was about 3-feet in diameter and 25-feet deep.  This type of disposal facility had been permitted until approximately 1970 by the local building officials.  The top of the dry well was covered with a concrete cap, which apparently deteriorated over time.  When the six year old child of a neighbor walked on the concrete cap, it collapsed.  The child fell into the dry well and drowned.

Inadequate Septic Tank Inspection, Los Angeles County, CA.   As a requirement of the lender, the septic system serving a house for sale was inspected by a septic system service company.  Two weeks after the new owner moved in, the system failed.  A second septic system service company noted that the earlier inspection was deficient.  Provided technical advice on the standard of care for inspection and servicing of septic systems.

Water, Wastewater & Forensic Engineeer

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Bonneau Dickson
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