Water system surge damages homes, businesses in and near Granby
March 1, 2009
Shawn and Jana Huse and other neighbors in west Granby are praying to the insurance gods these days.
During a Granby-area water system surge that created flooding in multiple homes and businesses, The Huses were hit two-fold.
On Feb. 17, their own home in SilverSage and their speculative home in Grand Elk’s Saddle Ridge were devastated from a water system emergency triggered by a defunct water pressure valve.
A backflow of water inside the couple’s houses ruined carpet, drywall, ceilings, tile, hardwood floors ” everything down to insulation. Their speculative house had just received its finishing work and certificate of occupancy last May, Shawn Huse said.
Ever since the water damage, Shawn has been working 15 hour days “trying to get things cleaned up,” he said.
Interiors are ripped up in both homes. For a nearly a week, loud industrial fans motored 24/7.
To steal away from the noise at one point, the Huse family escaped for one night at the Riverside Hotel in Hot Sulphur Springs.
The Huses since have turned in claims and are awaiting feedback, hoping for full coverage of repairs. They expect to owe $2,000 in deductibles.
Similarly, John deCicco experienced flooding at all three of his properties. The owner of Car Quest Auto Parts and a unit in the Granby Business Center cleaned up water at his businesses but endured much more severe damage at his home in Silver Sage. He estimates the ordeal may cost his family around $5,000.
The emergency took place in the Granby/SilverCreek Water and Waste Water Authority, which is part Town of Granby and part SilverCreek, as well as in The SilverCreek Water and Sanitation District, which is not part of the Town of Granby and which includes SilverSage and Innsbruck-Val Moritz subdivisions.
The Authority is comprised of SilverSage, Highlands, Grand Elk, Cabins @ Riverside, Village Road and Ten Mile Drive areas.
“Control piping on a pressure-reducing valve had a split in it,” said Authority Manager Joe Pandy about the break that caused massive pressure in the system.
The pipe was fixed the next day, he said. The problem had been isolated at the intersection of Village Road and Ten Mile Drive.
Upon the emergency, the Authority sent crews to patrol affected areas to locate possible flooding at vacant homes, Pandy said, but the possibility still exists that a vacant home could have water flowing.
In response to reports of blown water heaters in the community, the Grand Elk Homewoners Association promptly sent out letters to second-home owners, and a property manager with Resort Management Group and other volunteers inspected second homes. Some were found to have minor water penetration.
Jana Huse owes credits neighbors for notifying them about possible water damage at their spec. home.
“If it were not for them calling, we would have had a lot more damage,” she said.
In spite of at least one request for reimbursement, the Authority and Town maintain they are not liable for water damages caused by the mechanical failure. The valve is maintained and inspected every year and was serviced in 2008, Pandy said.
“If the Authority had purposefully caused the surge, that’d be different,” said Granby Town Manager Wally Baird, adding that the Authority had no indication the brass fitting was about to fail.
Likening it to an auto accident on Granby-maintained roads, “Why would we accept responsibility to pay for your deductible if we didn’t do anything to cause the problem?” he asked.
The Authority is assisting homeowners by forwarding damage claims to the Authority’s insurance carrier, according to Pandy.
It is also making strides to update its client database in light of the recent service failure. Because the Authority’s database had only mailing addresses, Authority officials were unable to contact homeowners directly. A letter is being sent out to 300 Authority members to acquire e-mail, cell phone and home phone information.
Efforts to contact officials in charge of the other affected water district, The SilverCreek Water and Sanitation District that shares connections to the Authority’s infrastructure, were unsuccessful by press time.
At this time, it is not clear how many homes and businesses suffered major damage from the Feb. 17 surge.
Baird and Pandy said they know of a handful, whereas Jana Huse said at least 10 to 15 other properties have suffered significant damage.
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