Man blames utility for flooding

Ricky Bryant using fans to dry the carpet in the lower level of his home on Hudson Bay Drive after it was flooded.

Ricky Bryant has a damp basement and an ax to grind.

Bryant, who lives in the 600 block of Hudson Bay Drive, said he found water bubbling up Monday afternoon from cracks in the foundation under an unfinished part of his basement. The water was about an inch deep, he estimated, and had spread into a carpeted area of the basement. Bryant said he looked outside and found Grand Valley Drainage District employees working over a manhole in front of his house. The manhole is over a drainage district pipe that runs alongside Bryant’s house.

“Are you having drainage problems?” he asked the workers. They said they were.

“You sure are, you flooded my house,” he said.

The conversation ended there. Bryant said he couldn’t get anyone at the drainage district on the phone so he called the Ute Water Conservancy District to come out and see if the water could have come from a busted pipe connected to his house, but he said he was told his pipes were fine. When he got ahold of Grand Valley Drainage District Manager Kevin Williams, Bryant said Williams told him the district would not clean up the basement. Bryant’s homeowner’s insurance turned him down for a claim because he doesn’t have flood insurance. A restoration company said they would charge him $1,600 to clear out the damage.

“Even if I had the money to fix it, why would I if it will happen again and I can’t sell it?” Bryant said.

Williams said Friday the district determined someone in a subdivision whose irrigation line dumps into the drainage district pipeline overloaded the drainage pipe.

“We’re trying to figure out which subdivision it is,” Williams said. “They dumped all the water that’s typically stored in an irrigation canal into our line.”

Williams said the district did not anticipate a glut of water in the summertime and said it created an obstruction in the line. Williams said the pipe near Bryant’s house has a history of troubles and the district is “not going to participate in any cleanup” in Bryant’s basement.

“We’re not going to go back in and take responsibility for any water in his basement because the house is 40 to 50 feet from the drain,” he said, adding “provisions for governmental immunity could come into this.”

For now, Bryant still hopes to get assistance with the cleanup as he runs fans to try to dry the basement. His neighbor one house down and across the street, Frank Mueller, said his yard flooded Monday afternoon as well. Mueller has lived in his home for 35 years and began having flooding issues in his yard after trees in the neighborhood grew large.

Mueller said he called the drainage district Monday afternoon to report water in his yard, a problem he said had been mitigated under different district management for the last three or four years.

“Before that, it used to happen almost every year,” Mueller said.


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