Home oil leak puts homeowner in $100,000 hole

Rebecca Stypelkoski pointing to the well in her front yard which was dug out due to the oil leak in her home on Westminster avenue (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

Rebecca Stypelkoski pointing to the well in her front yard which was dug out due to the oil leak in her home on Westminster avenue (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

The Department of Energy & Environmental Protection have recently been investigating an oil leak at a Shelton residence located on Westminster avenue.

Homeowner, Rebecca Stypelkoski, said she first noticed a peculiar taste to her tap water back in mid-July.

“I was making coffee with it, giving it to the dogs, and showering,” said Stypelkoski. “The smell and funny taste would come and go so initially I didn’t think anything of it. I think I got used to it.”

After months of dealing with the tainted water, Stypelkoski and her two daughters, who have since moved in with their father in Ansonia due to the circumstances, went to check on the filter in their basement because the smell of oil became more apparent. She said the water sprayed everywhere when they checked and determined that the oil leak was seeping into their water line.

The DEEP have already pumped out over 100 gallons of oil out of her well and are testing their neighbor’s water supply as well to see if it was affected by the leak.

Some of the oil leakage in Rebecca Stypelkoski’s basement covered with easydry (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

Some of the oil leakage in Rebecca Stypelkoski’s basement covered with easydry (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

“Now they’re drilling in my basement,” said Stypelkoski. “Because most likely the oil is underneath my floor. I have no water whatsoever. I’ve been relying on bottled water, taking showers up the street at my girlfriend’s house, and my neighbors have been letting me use their hose.”
Aside from the obvious adjustments that Stypelkoski has stated she’s had to make since discovering the leak, her boyfriend, Mike D’Auto who used to be a licensed service technician said it’s caused quite the financial burden for her as well.

“‘Nationwide is on your side?’ Yeah right,” said D’Auto. “Insurance is denying coverage and said they don’t want anything to do with it.”

With damage to some of her basement walls and others having to be torn down, floors being torn up and her front yard being dug out for testing the tab for these repairs have quickly skyrocketed.

“Right now we are looking at over $100,000 worth of repairs and for cleanup,” said ____ . “You pay for these premiums and then when a crisis happens and you call them up they deny you. I’m a single mom, how am I supposed to come up with that kind of money?”

Stypelkoski said the cause of the leak could be from pipes being out of date.

“It might have been an old leak. This past winter I was like ‘wow I’m going through fuel pretty quick. Faster than in the past,’ but I didn’t think anything of it,” said Stypelkoski. “I still want to wake up one day and be like this is all a dream and isn’t happening to me.”

Cynthia Chanaca, a representative from D.E.E.P. said the oil leak has been ruled a failed underground transfer line and emergency responders are currently doing testing of wells in the neighborhood.

D’Auto said he is confused as to how their oil company came into the home months prior to the discovery of the leak and said they were “good to go”. He also said that since the DEEP have been inspecting the home he believes he has discovered that the damages all could have been prevented with a fifty dollars worth of copper.

“It could save your house in the long-run. It’s something simple to do,” said D’Auto. “This is going to be devastating. Problems like this are common in older homes. They have a bare copper wire, a line of three eighths tubing running through the concrete under the foundation and come up again next to the furnace. It’s very common. The very nature of it is deteriorating because you have concrete which will eventually attack the copper and cause this problem.”

D’Auto advised homeowners to check out their furnace system as the damages to Stypelkoski’s prove that small fixes can result in huge deficits.

“Our options are to pay it forever or walk away and go bankrupt,” said Stypelkoski. “I have top-notch million dollar coverage but nothing is being covered by Nationwide because they said they don’t cover anything with oil or hazardous waste. What gets me is the state should make this a law that insurance cover this kind of stuff because it’s costing them money.

Stypelkoski said she will most likely never be able to sell her home and it will forever be a “thorn in her side.”

“Who knows how far this will go?,” said Stypelkoski. “The DEEP said they can’t believe no one wants to cover this so they are currently going after Nationwide.”

Stypelkoski said although she is stuck with the bill she is grateful that this leak was found before there would have been a higher risk of contaminating her neighbor’s’ water.

Tests are still being conducted to determine the effects of the leak and more details are to be released upon their arrival.

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