Published: Apr 24, 2014 8:36 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla - It's the end of a nightmare for 90-year-old Ronnie Tribulas.  Months after discovering the home she's lived in for nearly 30 years was never properly hooked up to Cape Coral sewer services, the city issued her a refund for decades of sewer bills she always paid.

It started last year when Tribulas' plumbing began backing up.  Services crews soon discovered she was on a septic tank, even though her home was supposed to be hooked up to the sewer lines. 

"I was afraid my sewage was going into the ground water," Tribulas told WINK News. "I thought, 'Oh my God, I'm poisoning people.'"

After going back and forth with the city, Cape Coral officials realized the home she bought in the 1980s was never linked when sewer was run through the neighborhood in the late 1970s.

Thursday, Tribulas received a refund check from the city in the amount of $3,400 - approximately what the city estimates she has paid over the last 30 years. And thanks to the generosity of Rohaley & Sons Plumbing, Tribulas had her old septic tank removed and her home connected to city sewer at no cost to her.

"I couldn't thank people enough," Tribulas said.  "Everybody just came to my rescue, I guess I should say."