Evergreen man billed $2,700 for water pipe he didn’t break

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EVERGREEN, Colo. -- Jon Card was told his water service would be shut off Saturday if he didn’t pay a $2,700 bill.

The Evergreen man isn’t behind on his water bill.  He was billed for what a work crew did to a water pipe in the drainage ditch in front of his house.

“Just didn’t think I should have to pay for somebody else’s mistake,” said Card.

The Lookout Mountain Water District has told Card it didn’t matter who broke the pipe.  Since the district supplied his water service, it was going after him.

Pauley Construction, working as a subcontractor for Century Link, admitted one of its crews caused a massive leak when they hit the pipe during excavation work last July.

The company’s Vice President, Dan Hernandez, said his company shouldn’t be held liable because it asked the Lookout Mountain Water District for the pipe’s location before it began digging.

When the work crew didn’t receive an answer within 48 hours, Pauley Construction claimed it had the legal right to start digging under state law.

In a letter to Card, the LMWD wrote, “Normally the company causing the damage would be held responsible, however in this case, the fact that your water line was at about 36 inches depth, and the contractor was digging In the allowable 24 to 36 inch depth, it cannot be held liable for damages."

Card said the water district wanted to hold him responsible for the pipe not being buried deep enough some fifty years ago.

“Seemed absurd,” he said.

State Representative Cheri Gerou, of Evergreen, said Card was in an unfair situation and immediately called both the Lookout Mountain Water District and Pauley Construction.

“I’ve learned not to be surprised by anything,” said the Republican lawmaker.

After Gerou’s phone calls, Dan Hernandez, the vice president of Pauley Construction sent an email offering to reimburse the LMWD.

Pauley wrote, “we will be sending a check over night to avoid an interruption in water service, that according to Mr. Card is scheduled for Saturday.”

The Lookout Water Mountain District refused to explain why it went after Card in the first place.  It released a statement that said, "At this point LMWD will take no further action since the account will be paid in full in accord with the District's policies."

“It feels awesome to be able to sleep and not have to worry about that tonight,” said Card, who expressed his appreciation to FOX31 Denver and Representative Gerou for resolving his 5-month old dispute.