Raw sewage spills into Lakewood family’s apartment

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LAKEWOOD, Colo. -- A family in Lakewood dealing with a raw sewage nightmare turned to the FOX31 Problem Solvers on Tuesday for help.

The Cordova family said they’ve been pleading with their landlord for months to put an end to a foul-smelling health hazard -- but nothing gets done.

The past six months have been a constant battle for Sierra Cordova at her small apartment complex at West 13th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard.

"The water is kind of dingy looking … it has like little stuffing pieces floating around in it,” Cordova said.

Scented candles don’t do much to cover up the smell. Cordova said the property management company, INCO Property Management and Sales, has been promising results that never come.

The smell in Cordova’s bedroom originates from pipes covered by a wooden box. She said the company used duct tape in a futile attempt to prevent feces-laced water from flooding the box and soaking carpet.

"It smells like human feces … straight up, like someone went in there and used the bathroom on the floor,” Cordova said.

The sewage pipes carry waste from multiple units. Cordova said when the pipes fill up, feces can’t pass through the blockage and brown water seeps under walls.

Now Cordova says something that appears to be black mold is developing at the baseboards.

“We’re handling it,” an employee with INCO Property Management and Sales in Centennial said. “Sorry, that’s all I can tell you for now.”

Cordova said her baby has breathing issues and the sewage is only making things worse. She is now thinking of moving.

Late Tuesday, an INCO supervisor promised to fix the problem.

The company said it has been doing everything that could be reasonably expected to fix the issue.

On Thursday, the landlord agreed to let her out of her lease.

"Of course no tenant should have to deal with a sewer back up," INCO owner Adam Thyfault said in a statement. "Which is why both times it has happened since May we remedied the situation immediately. Of course no tenant should have to live with mold. Which is why immediate action has been taken to define and remedy the problem.

"We have promptly spent over $7,000 fixing and trying to prevent this problem. If it would have cost more we would have paid more. The tenant was offered a substitute apartment and an option to be let out of their lease. We have done everything that can be done to remedy the situation for the tenant and will continue to do so."