Couple with massive water issues fear their home was built on a ditch or stream

A Cobb County family feels their eight-year-old home has so many water problems it is unlivable and their yard, so water saturated they fear a sinkhole could gobble up their home.

It has been a living hell according to the parents who are fighting with their builder in court to get a new home.

Take a tour of Kristine and Dwight James hour of horrors. Active water leaks, surface through cracks and flood the garage, forcing them and their teenagers to turn off their hot water heater when not using it.

"We have to turn it [hot water heater] off all the time or our driveway would be flooded," says homeowner Dwight James.

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"We have to turn it (hot water heater) off all the time or our driveway would be flooded," says homeowner Dwight James.

From: FOX 5 Atlanta

Inside the house, the master shower leaks, seep down to the kitchen below, forcing them to turn their shower off and use their boy’s bathroom.

Kitchen cabinets are pulling away from walls, and outside never-ending water saturates the backyard.

"Right. It is squishing underneath your feet," says homeowner Kristen James.

One company told them the yard had gaps, or the beginning of sinkholes.

The James' family said one company told them the yard had gaps, or the beginning of sinkholes. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

You can’t help but get a sinking feeling that their house could, well … sink.

"The only logical conclusion is it’s a matter of time before those voids get so big, the house will drop. It will go," says Kristen James.

The James' nightmare began after they bought their dream home in 2015. At first, they loved their new home.

But, according to a lawsuit they filed against their builder, over time they noticed the water leaks that ultimately lead to the plumbing issues and soaked yard. Then, they got online and found Cobb County's GIS mapping system.

"I entered our address, and then boom. There it was. A stream. A blue line, says Kristen James.

Cobb County's GIS mapping system lined up with a map showing the James' family home. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

We asked former Environmental Protection Division Director of compliance, Bert Langley, what a blue line on a GPS map means.

"It should tell you to be concerned there is water running through that property or along that line," says Langley.

Langley worked for the state E.P.D. for 40 years. He says that blue line could be anything from a stream that enjoys protection under water quality laws or a ditch that developers can reroute. No matter what, he says it should have been a warning to the builder.

"It’s certainly a big red flag, let’s look closer at this before we do anything," says Langley.

Patrick Malloy Communities wouldn’t talk because of the pending lawsuit. They wrote us to say they used "qualified, third-party engineering firms to design, supervise, test and inspect all stages of development" in their home construction. And that each home "complies with the applicable codes, rules and regulations."

The case is now headed to arbitration.

The James tell me they know of no other home in the subdivision with water under anyone’s home.

According to their lawsuit the James hired two different engineers to examine the home.

In an attachment to the lawsuit, one engineer wrote the original home grading documents show an "existing drainage ditch" crossing the lot which "existed before the development of the subdivision."

Another engineer included in their report a screen capture from a GIS map that showed the blue line under their house, and said the ditch was locally known as "Nose Creek."

Kristen James cries while explaining the anxiety she feels living in her home. (FOX 5 Atlanta)

"I felt validated, at first. I knew it. We both looked at each other, and we’re like oh, my God, we got it," says Kristen James.

According to an attachment to the lawsuit, the engineer's conclusion: The lack of soil compaction is "directly related to the flow of water through the lot" and "the house is uninhabitable."

In its court response, Patrick Malloy Communities denied they "breached the purchase agreement" or "Limited Warranty." They also "deny any liability" to the James family.

And the James continue to wait and wonder what will happen next in their house that no longer feels like a home.

"It’s a constant fight on your mind every single day, you know, that they moment you wake up, you’re thinking about the water," says Dwight James.

"It's ah, anxiety all the time. Like panic all the time," added his wife Kristen.

The FOX 5 I-Team will follow the case and let you know how it turns out.