Denver Water communication snafu causes lead reduction program confusion

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver Water is in the process of replacing thousands of individual lead service lines. The utility needs permission from homeowners to get the job done. However, the Problem Solvers have learned signed consent forms sent back to Denver Water seem to be disappearing.

The utility’s lead reduction program targets homes built before 1950. The original water service lines for those homes are likely made of lead.

“When I first turn [on my water] in the morning, it comes out rusty,” a North Park Hill resident, who lives in an older home, told FOX31.

While rust does not appear to be a widespread issue, lead water is an issue for tens of thousands of residents.

Over the past year, Denver Water has been sending out consent forms to replace lead service lines citywide. Danielle, who also lives in North Park Hill, received her consent form about a month ago.

“I filled it out right away,” she said. “Signed it. Mailed it back.”

But somehow, something went wrong.

“I got an email saying that I was a ‘delayed response’ or something … and they hadn’t [received] the form that I signed,” she said.

Danielle sent in a second signed form only to receive another email notice. She’s not alone. Other Denver residents have reported the same issue to the FOX31 Problem Solvers.

Denver Water said it appreciates the Problem Solvers for bringing the issue to its attention. The utility said consent forms are uploaded to each customer’s profile, but there is an issue communicating that with field crews.

“That technology needs to talk to the technology our field people are talking to,” said Denver Water spokesperson Travis Thompson. “There’s just some syncing up things that we’re working through right now.”

The utility said it is persistent with mailings, emails and phone calls to ensure residents don’t miss out on this public health benefit.

“We’re going to be pushing, really hard, to make sure that we get as many [service lines] in an area replaced at one time,” Thompson said.

Denver Water’s goal is to replace as many as 84,000 service lines within 15 years. Last year was the first year for replacements under the lead reduction program. Denver Water said it exceeded its 2020 goal by replacing more than 5,200 lines.

For those in the dark on program enrollment requirements, call Denver Water Customer Care at 303-893-2444. 

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