Residents in Colorado Springs are telling 11 News wastewater is backing up into their homes. Representatives from Colorado Springs Utilities said most cases are linked to tree roots growing into service lines running from homes to the main lines under the street.
Shirley’s basement looks nothing like she says it should.
"It’s usually where I come to relax, but it's in a total uproar," she said.
Wastewater recently started backing up into her home on Bates Drive, off of Palmer Park Boulevard. Shirley told 11 News six other homes on the street had similar problems. She now has to replace her carpeting among a long list of repairs, the biggest of which is replacing her service line, leaving her with a shocking bill.
"Right now it's $21,000," she said.
Shirley believes it's all because of recent work done on the main line by Colorado Springs Utilities.
11 News checked with Colorado Springs Utilities Wednesday.
"We do our part as a utility, but it's up to customers to do their part, especially in established neighborhoods," said spokesperson Steve Berry.
Berry explained what's happening in Shirley’s neighborhood is happening in many others like it. Trees drying out in the region’s drought conditions are searching for water sources. They find it in wastewater service lines. Roots are growing right into pipes, damaging them, and then causing backups like Shirley’s.
"We’re seeing a huge issue with that right now, and it's especially problematic for our customers because that is their responsibility."
11 News has learned the city of Colorado Springs in August did approve a partial payout to cover similar damages in one home on Bates Drive, Shirley’s street. The city's claims office investigated and found a blockage in the main line at that time could have contributed to the back up.
The main line on Bates Drive was checked and found to be clear at the beginning of October, according to Colorado Springs Utilities. The earlier problem, Berry said, is unrelated to other cases reported on the street.
Springs Utilities recommends customers have those service lines cleaned professionally once every two years. For more useful information we've added a link on the 11 News homepage under the Find It tab.