Homeowner wants city to pay for burst pipe after water meter replacement

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AURORA, Colo. -- A homeowner in Aurora is out $3,800 after he says an Aurora Water technician’s mistake caused his pipes to burst. Now he wants the city to pay for it.

Even though the weather is starting to feel like spring, Mike Elekes was not planning on any landscaping this week. That changed after his pipes burst Friday.

“The excavator came out. They dug up the ground,” Elekes said about the repair. “They ripped out the old pipe.”

It all started last week when Aurora Water came out to replace the water meters in Elekes’ neighborhood.  “The minute he turned the water back on, boom. All of the sudden my pipe was burst,” explained Elekes.

He had to replace 35 feet of pipe running through his front yard into his crawlspace. The repair cost him $3,800.

“I can understand if the pipe had burst on its own and you’re just using it and it blew. That’s fine. That’s my responsibility,” Elekes says.

He blames the technician though, and wants Aurora to pay for the repairs. Aurora Water Director Mitchell Brown says there is no way a city technician caused the damage.

“It would be impossible or extremely difficult for a technician to do anything that would cause a service line failure like that,” Brown said.

Under the city code, a service line break is the homeowner’s responsibility. Elekes’ home was built in 1948. Brown says in older neighborhoods breaks are just a matter of time. He says it is a coincidence Elekes’ pipes burst during the routine maintenance.

“Service lines fail because they get old and corrode so sometimes the failures correspond with our meter replacements due to different pressure that the service line experiences at that time,” Brown explained.

Elekes said he is disappointed by the city’s inaction.

“Yes, I had older pipes. But those pipes were working before he did his maintenance. So, I just think it’s unfair that no one wants to come forward and say, ‘Oh yeah, we screwed up.'”

Aurora does offer grants for low income homeowners to pay for water repairs. In this case, Elekes didn't qualify for that help. ​

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