Jun 16, 2017 5:21 PM
BARNSTEAD — A Barnstead man is speaking out after his 2-year-old pool is unusable due to what he claims is an installation error, but the company who installed the pool said changes to water flow underground are to blame. However, it appears as though weather may be the real culprit.
Cory Halvorsen had a pool installed by Empire Pools in May 2015, and it worked great for two summers until he took the cover off in April to prepare it for this year.
After a couple months of back and forth between Halvorsen and Empire Pools owner Jeff Huberty, with neither party feeling that they were to blame, the issue was determined to have been caused by groundwater.
Huberty had suggested that a drought New Hampshire had been experiencing last year would have kept the water table low, but he also said there could be other factors contributing to the issue as well.
"They are doing logging on that road, and they also dug out the culverts on his road too," Huberty said. "Did that have something to do with it? I can't say because I'm not a civil engineer, but there's a lot of things that could have contributed to what's going on."
NH1 News Meteorologist Ryan Breton confirmed that New Hampshire was in a moderate drought in May 2015 when the pool was installed. He said the drought peaked in severity in the fall of 2016, and that groundwater levels only recently returned to normal.
When asked about performing any sort of tests regarding groundwater, Huberty said his company has never had to and most of the pool companies he knows don't either.
"Generally speaking, when you're digging down, you'll know when you're getting close to water because it will start coming up from the bottom," Huberty said. "His was high and dry. There was no issues and nothing going on."
Halvorsen said he asked Huberty about soil tests to check the water table in a recent phone call and was told the same thing.
"From what I understand, it's not expensive to do, but you can actually test the soil and see where your water table will sit all the time," Halvorsen said. He said he thinks a test like this might have been useful when his pool was being installed. He said he expected the pool company to know about and watch out for potential groundwater issues.
"I would imagine that when we hired someone that's a pool company to do an install, that they would know what they need to do," Halvorsen said.
NH1 News reached out to Brian Short, president of Custom Pools Inc., who said if the pool was installed during a drought, there would be no way for the pool company to know there was a water problem. He also said that all the rain that the Granite State has experienced this past spring could certainly cause a liner to float. Short said this is one of the reasons his company only builds custom Gunite pools and not liner pools.
At this point, Halvorsen said he just wants the pool fixed. He said it's not about the money but instead making consumers aware of the situation so that they may avoid a similar one. He said he was unimpressed by Empire Pool's lack of response to his concerns, but Huberty contested this claim, saying that Halvorsen went to social media before trying to contact them.
Huberty said he has offered his final resolution, which is replacing the liner free of charge after Halvorsen pays to resolve the groundwater issue.
"I feel for the guy," Huberty said. "He's got 2 feet of water in an empty pool in his backyard that still hasn't drained out."
'A $40,000 Fish Pond'
"When we took our cover off, we noticed the lining was coming away from the edging," Halvorsen said, recalling when he first noticed the issue. He said upon closer inspection, he could see water both in and outside of the liner.
Halvorsen said he contacted the Empire Pools location in Concord, where he purchased the pool. They said they didn't have an idea what was happening and told him that Huberty would be in touch with him.
Huberty said they asked Halvorsen to send pictures of the pool to them, which he did. Huberty agreed that something was wrong and said he would set up a time for himself and the installer, who was subcontracted by Empire Pools, to assess the pool in person.
Halvorsen said he didn't hear from Huberty for about a week after initially contacting the store regarding the issue, but Huberty said he hadn't contacted Halvorsen yet because he was still coordinating a time to assess the pool with the installer.
Halvorsen said he called Empire Pools' Manchester location on April 20 and was told that Huberty was out of the office. He said when Huberty called him back he said he hadn't had time to make it out because he had been busy with other installations, which Halvosen said he understood.
"I figured contacting him, the earlier the better to try and get this issue fixed, because I certainly understand they have pools going in, but that's why I reached out in April," Halvorsen said.
Huberty said he had contacted the installer to set up a time for them to visit the property, but he was also on vacation that week. He said on April 25, he received a call from his Manchester store manager saying that Halvorsen had made a negative post about Empire Pools online.
"I called him and asked him, 'what is this all about?' and he proceeded to yell at me, 'You told me you'd call me yesterday!'," Huberty said. "I told him, No. 1, I'm on vacation, and No. 2, I told you I'd call you once I got in touch with the installer and had a chance to get out there."
Huberty said he left his vacation to meet with the installer and visit the pool.
Halvorsen said he and Huberty didn't speak much, and that Huberty didn't introduce himself, but Huberty said he and Halvorsen had been familiar before then. Halvorsen said the installer said he believed there was a liner issue and that Huberty suggested that it could be a groundwater issue.
Huberty said an agreement was made that Halvorsen would drain the pool and they would inspect it, and if it was determined to be a manufacturer's error, the installer would remove the liner and replace it with a new one.
History of problems
After visiting the home, Huberty said he asked Halvorsen to take down his negative posts online, but Halvorsen said he feels the only reason they had made an effort to assess the pool was because of the negative social media posts.
Halvorsen said he would never have had to go to social media if the issue had been resolved, but Huberty said he and Halvorsen began having issues in 2015 when the pool was initially being installed. Huberty said there was some sort of timing issue and that Halvorsen said he was going to go to the media, but that problem was resolved.
After assessing the pool, Huberty said they were waiting for Halvorsen's call, but Halvorsen said he was waiting to hear from them.
Halvorsen said he eventually got a call from the installer telling him that his liner was in, and on May 18 the installer came and cut the old liner from the pool.
After removing the liner, however, they couldn't find any tears or holes.
Empire Pools then suggested that Halvorsen's leech field could be leaking gray water into the pool area, causing the issue.
Halvorsen said his home is only 9 years old, so he thought it was a rare possibility that it was the leech field causing the issue, but he said he still hired someone to assess the situation. He said they confirmed that the leech field wasn't to blame.
Huberty said a new garage built on the property a short distance from the pool could be to blame.
"They may have caused a fracture in a water area and opened up a new area for water," Huberty said.
Halvorsen disputes this assessment and said that the water that used to flow into the backyard is blocked by the garage and goes into the front yard. He also said he has had multiple people assess the situation and agree that the garage isn't causing the problem.
While the exact cause of the issue has yet to be determined, Halvorsen said the issue was eventually identified as groundwater coming in underneath the liner.
"I've had several engineers in commercial construction come out," he said. "Basically they said there's a blockage because there's no drainage around the pool."
Halvorsen said the estimated cost of digging up the area to install drainage pipes will cost around $3,500. He said he would have much rather paid for it to be installed when the pool was being built instead of now, and that Empire Pools made an error in not installing drainage pipes.
Huberty disagreed and pointed to the fact that the pool had no issues for two years. He said he also reiterated his offer to replace the liner once the groundwater situation was taken care of.
He said he has spoken with other pool companies, as well as his manufacturer, and he said they all agree that if the pool had no issues for two years then something changed that affected the water table.
6 hours 38 minutes agoThe United States Marshal's office is searching for an escaped inmate who may be in the area of Belknap or Merrimack counties. (More)
10 hours 18 minutes agoA man was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in prison for physically overpowering and raping a 14-year-old girl in an unused hallway of...
12 hours 24 minutes agoAn elderly woman confused the brakes in the car with the gas, launching her into Lake Winnipesaukee. (More)
Jun 21, 2017 8:49 AMMost Granite Staters have encountered a tick at least once in their lifetime, but a meat allergy caused by a bite from a southeastern...
15 hours 21 minutes agoWhile Manchester PD arrests 5 people for prostitution, undercover detective offered heroin and discovers man with crystal methamphetamine. (More)
Jun 21, 2017 6:19 PMBefore planning a day trip to a New Hampshire beach or pond, make sure to check that the water is not contaminated with fecal...
15 hours 11 minutes agoThe Department of Health and Human Services report a syphilis outbreak in the state, which is consistent with the national trend. (More)
Jun 21, 2017 3:57 PMDuring an interview, an abused child told detectives the man 'always hurts me almost every time' the two are together. (More)
Jun 21, 2017 3:42 PMWho is Christina Fay? What we know about her before she was arrested for housing 84 Great Danes in deplorable conditions at her Wolfeboro...
Jun 21, 2017 11:51 AMA potential funnel cloud was caught on camera. (More)
Jun 21, 2017 12:22 PMOn Tuesday afternoon police arrested a man for allegedly abusing a young boy he was watching. (More)
Jun 20, 2017 2:06 PM15,351 students at the University of New Hampshire can sleep peacefully knowing their campus has been ranked as the safest school in the Uunited...
Jun 20, 2017 3:45 PMPolice are looking to speak with a Somersworth woman after finding a car involved in a hit-and-run that killed a 71-year-old woman. (More)
Jun 20, 2017 11:39 AMTwo young children were present when police searched a Massachusetts apartment Monday night and arrested a man on multiple drug distribution charges. (More)
Jun 20, 2017 2:28 PMNew Hampshire State Police are hoping that video surfaced out of California may help lead to clues to solve the case of a serial...
Jun 19, 2017 1:13 PMA New Hampshire school district is mourning the loss of their superintendent after he died from a sudden illness. (More)
Jun 19, 2017 8:11 AMWhile investigating suspected money laundering, FBI recorded the man claiming he won money while in Colorado hunting Bigfoot. (More)
Jun 19, 2017 12:57 PMMany parents in New Hampshire probably believe their baby is the cutest in the state, but one competition is looking to say otherwise. (More)
Jun 19, 2017 4:30 PMPolice released the identity of a Massachusetts man who was killed after being involved in a three vehicle crash along Route 3A. (More)
Jun 18, 2017 2:32 PMThose looking to adopt the Great Danes rescued at a suspected New Hampshire puppy mill may have to wait up to a year to...
Jun 18, 2017 8:42 PMThunderstorms are likely to be strong Monday afternoon and evening. (More)
Jun 19, 2017 12:25 PMA Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued for all of New Hampshire until 8 p.m. Monday. (More)
Jun 18, 2017 10:23 AMThe Somersworth Police Department are searching for the suspected driver who hit and killed a pedestrian. (More)
Jun 18, 2017 12:11 PMThree New Hampshire teenagers have been charged with assaulting a popular street performer in Boston who plays music while dressed as a bear. (More)
Jun 18, 2017 10:46 AMOfficers arrested three men at a New Hampshire homeless shelter after they resisted arrest by trying to take an officer's gun and hitting officers,...
Jun 18, 2017 11:17 AMDonations to The Humane Society of the United States helped ease the rescue of 84 Great Danes from a New Hampshire puppy mill. (More)
Jun 16, 2017 5:21 PMA Barnstead man is speaking out after his 2-year-old pool is unusable due to what he claims is an installation error. However, weather may...
Jun 16, 2017 2:34 PMAfter a stabbing victim arrived at Elliot Hospital, police and SWAT surrounded a Manchester house believing more victims could be within. (More)
Jun 16, 2017 2:07 PMAutopsy for suspect of a high speed chase through multiple states revealed the officer-involved shooting to be a homicide. (More)
Jun 15, 2017 3:40 PMTimothy Dearborn arraigned of several charges in Merrimack County Superior Court after allegedly shooting a gun Thursday night in downtown Concord. (More)
Jun 15, 2017 2:06 PMPolice in Mass. are investigating the death of a dog that was left in a car in a country club parking lot on a...
Jun 16, 2017 7:42 AMAn hour-long police chase that began in Massachusetts has ended in a crash in New Hampshire with the suspect dead. (More)
Jun 14, 2017 3:18 PMThe Strafford County Drug Task Force has arrested 13 people on drug charges over the past three months as a result of Operation Granite...
Jun 15, 2017 11:57 AMWitnesses told police Timothy Dearborn, 33, of Concord, showed them a 9mm pistol before walking to the Low Avenue area where he then fired...
Jun 15, 2017 2:50 PMPolice arrested two New York brothers who allegedly used counterfeit $100 bills in the city. (More)
Jun 14, 2017 4:02 PMA Portsmouth man shot and killed by officers died from multiple gunshot wounds, the Chief Medical Examiner said. (More)
Jun 14, 2017 2:00 PMA family living in a Nashua apartment complex are the apparent target of racist graffiti left in the laundry room. (More)
Jun 14, 2017 3:39 PMA NH judge ruled that the Concord man suspected of stabbing a woman to death in May would be held without bail after his...
Jun 14, 2017 11:49 AMTwo people were arrested on drug charges after police noticed suspicious activity in a 7-Eleven parking lot Wednesday. (More)
Jun 14, 2017 9:34 AMNew Hampshire's federal delegates are reacting to the shooting of top House Republican, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, at a congressional baseball practice. (More)
Jun 13, 2017 8:54 PMOfficers shot and killed a Portsmouth man allegedly on his way to Lawrence, Massachusetts to get drugs. (More)
Jun 13, 2017 1:28 PMPolice have captured a wanted mother of two children taken away from their father's apartment after being found covered in feces and living in...
Jun 13, 2017 4:47 PMNew Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) has issued a cyanobacteria warning for those who recreate on Silver Lake. (More)
Jun 13, 2017 4:24 PMBoyfriend of murder victim is being held without bail in a Virginia jail for possession and intent to sell numerous illegal narcotics. (More)
Jun 12, 2017 1:06 PMA woman key to the return of a North Conway teen after she had been kidnapped and held hostage for months has been granted...
Jun 14, 2017 8:20 AMRep. Mike Bishop, R-Mich., said Scalise was "a sitting duck." (More)
Jun 13, 2017 1:59 PMThe shooting occurred shortly after 12:30 p.m. at the southbound New Hampshire State Liquor Store on Interstate 95 in Hampton. (More)
Jun 13, 2017 8:55 AMThe National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Rockingham and Strafford counties until 8 p.m. Tuesday. (More)
Jun 12, 2017 11:44 AMPolice say Northfield man, Eric Sleeper, was the man was behind the wheel of a stolen truck that crashed Friday night. (More)