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Homeowners Mull Lawsuit Against Boulder After Flood Damage From Water Main Break

BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) - Homeowners are considering legal action after the City of Boulder refuses to take the blame after a water main broke last Monday and flooded more than a dozen homes.

Homeowners are being told it's up to them to pay for the damage.

Homeowners in the neighborhood say they don't live in a flood plain so most don't have flood insurance. They all met Tuesday night to consider taking legal action.

"We are not in flood plain, we didn't flood in 2013," Boulder resident Dan Baumbach said.

Baumbach is one of more than a dozen of homeowners whose house suffered thousands of dollars' worth of flood damage.

"It's probably maybe $6-7,000," Baumbach said. "The city is saying, 'You know, this happens. We're sorry and we can't do anything about it.'"

"It was a typical break; one that happens around 70 times a year," City of Boulder spokesman Ben Irwin said.

Irwin says the water main broke due to a combination of corrosion and pressure and says it's impossible for them to predict where a water main may break.

(credit: CBS)

"The evaluation the city performed with that determination was that the city is not liable for the damages that were caused by the water main break," Irwin said.

Irwin added that Public Works has an ongoing water main replacement program replacing 20,000 feet of pipe every year.

"We certainly understand that this was a very traumatic and damaging experience for property owners in the area," he said.

"To me, the city is not serving the residents," Baumbach said.

As for homeowners like Baumach, he calls the city's reasoning unacceptable and wants them to take responsibility.

"Are we all supposed to get flood insurance because the City of Boulder does not maintain its water mains? I mean that's absurd?" he said.

Even though the city has said it's not their fault, the city adds that each homeowner can file another individual claim with the city to possibly get help paying damages.

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