Denver Water lead pipe replacement may cause damage to personal property

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — As of this week, Denver Water has surpassed its goal of replacing more than 4,500 service lines at no direct charge to homeowners.  As many as 84,000 properties may have lead service lines. 

The water Denver Water provides to homes and businesses is lead-free, but lead can get into the water as it moves through lead-containing household fixtures, plumbing and water service lines. The pipe that brings water into the home from the main in the street is owned by the homeowner.

Accessing the pipes can sometimes involve getting behind walls and under the floors.

Delia Rojas tells the FOX31 Problem Solvers she was surprised to learn that she would be responsible for repairing additional damage to her floor.

“No homeowner in their right mind is going to allow you to dig a hole in their home and then not come and repair it,” she said.

Denver Water tells the Problem Solvers information about the program was regularly shared with customers via 5 million mailings, digital communications and phone calls in both English and Spanish. Crews make it clear to homeowners that because the connection for service lines is sometimes located behind a finished wall or under a floor, damage may be necessary to get to the pipe.

A statement provided from Denver Water to FOX31 says, “There are times when additional interior disruption needs to occur for crews to access the pipe and safely complete the work. This portion of the restoration is the responsibility of the property owner, and discussed before the work occurs.” 

In a case where there is a misunderstanding or dispute, like with Rojas, Denver Water says, “When this happens, we ask that the customer file a claim so that we can do our due-diligence and investigate.”

Denver Water reached out to Rojas to explain the claims process.

Denver Water says once Rojas submits a quote from a contractor, she can officially file the claim and it will take up to 20 business days for the claim to be processed.

If approved, she will receive compensation.

Homeowners can sign a waiver to opt out of the pipe replacement program. Denver Water says doing that means not benefitting from having the lead pipes replaced free of charge, which can cost more than $10,000. 

Denver Water tells FOX31 the staff will continue to educate property owners who do not consent to the replacement every year, providing them new opportunities to participate in the program. New owners are quickly informed of the program and the risks associated with not replacing lead pipes as well.

Learn more about Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program on its website.

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