COLORADO SPRINGS – Homeowners in a neighborhood near Fort Carson want Colorado Springs Utilities to pay for tens of thousands of dollars in damage and repairs after a water line break caused their basements to flood ceaselessly for, in one case, over a month.
The homes are on Brush Oak Drive, near South Academy Boulevard and State Highway 115. Beginning October 23, water began seeping into Tuan Nguyen’s basement, finishing of which had just been completed less than a week earlier. “I started walking around the entire basement ans sure enough, there was water all around,” Nguyen said. About three weeks later, water began seeping into the basement of his next-door neighbor, Marlene Sotelo. “It literally looked like a stream coming through the house,” Sotelo said.
Both Nguyen and Sotelo called Colorado Springs Utilities and plumbers to come identify the source of the seepage, however they both were told the seeping liquid was groundwater, not treated or pressurized municipal water. “They said it was 100 percent groundwater, there’s nothing they can do,” Sotelo said.
The seepage continued unabated, forcing both homeowners to remove all furniture, carpet, padding, drywall, and fixtures. Meanwhile, down the street at the end of the block, a separate water issue went unfixed for several weeks, Sotelo said. “I asked (Colorado Springs Utilities) them if the issue that was happening at the beginning of the street could be causing our issue, and they said, ‘Oh, no, very unlikely.’ But from there to here, chlorine could have filtered out,” Sotelo said of the finding that the seepage was groundwater.
On November 30, CSU completed repairs on the issue at the end of the block, and immediately the seepage stopped at Sotelo’s and Nguyen’s homes. “I was in shock with how the water just stopped because we were under the impression it was groundwater,” Sotelo said.
In a statement to News 5, a Colorado Springs Utilities spokesperson said, “On Friday, Nov. 30, Colorado Springs Utilities repaired a service leak at (address withheld) Brush Oak Drive. The leak was on the customer’s side of the curb stop. When we made repairs to (address withheld), the groundwater issues cleared up for the customers located at (address withheld) Brush Oak Drive and (address withheld) Brush Oak Drive.”
Sotelo and Nguyen now want CSU to pay for repairs. “If they had responded in a timely manner, then maybe we wouldn’t have to tear out our walls,” Nguyen said. “You know, (acknowledge) it’s our fault, we’re sorry, we’ll pay you for the damage, the personal property, and to fix your basement,” Sotelo said.
In response, Colorado Springs Utilities said, “In order for the customers to get compensation for their losses, they must first file a claim through the City Claims Office. Receiving the claim in writing gets the official claims process started. (Colorado Springs Utilities shares its claims office with the City.) Customers can file a claim through the City Claim’s office one of two ways. They can do it online at: https://coloradosprings.gov/risk-management/webform/file-claim-against-city-colorado-springs or by calling 719-385-5960.”