By Karen Morfitt

(CBS4) – Twice in the last year, Joe Walsh and his wife Jen have had to clean up after sewage flooded into their Denver home. Last May, a water main broke and flooded a sewer line, pushing the contents into their basement.

“It was raw sewage and standing water, about three to four inches in our basement,” Joe Walsh said.

It took months of fighting and time out of their home before the situation was resolved.

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“Our little guy has some lung issues, so we (were) staying at friend’s house. It was very stressful,” he said.

Denver Water would eventually pay for the repairs, but only a few months after the work was complete a clogged city sewer line caused another flood in March.

“This way and this way and out the door and in there everywhere downstairs,” 3-year-old Jasper Walsh said about the flood.

The wastewater team responded that night, but not to help the homeowners. Walsh says they had to ask for a supervisor.

“No mitigation was sent. We were told that we have to do that ourselves,” he said.

That’s despite the city’s website saying if the problem is on their end, they will arrange cleanup “in an efficient manner.”

The family now owes nearly $12,000 to a restoration company and had to spend thousands to replace a water heater. They once again had to tear apart their home.

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“One of the things we kept bringing up to them is a lot of families around here, we don’t have the bucks to just to forward to restoration companies to come out,” he said.

A spokesperson for the City’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure sent the following statement in response to CBS4’s questions about why there was no immediate help with cleanup:

DOTI responded to a sanitary sewer line backup at this location last month, arriving on scene within an hour and immediately starting work to clear the city’s main line which had a clog.

Four homes were affected by the sanitary sewer line backup; it was a job that was too large for the vendor that we have on contract to help with residential cleanups, so we recommended the property owners hire a contractor to do the work and then file a claim with the city, submitting their information and receipts.

Walsh says they filed their claim the day after and have had little communication and no indication how long the process will take or what will be reimbursed.

“If anything will be offered it will need to go through city council members to ultimately make that decision and so we are just on waiting for all this to happen,” he said.

That means waiting for money the two teachers didn’t have to spare to begin with, but also waiting for the next flood worried that there’s a bigger problem the city is putting off at their expense.

“I can’t tell the future but if I look at this history of the line, I will bet that it’s probably going to break again,” he said.

The family does have homeowners insurance, but theirs doesn’t cover damage when the source of the water comes from off the property. That, Walsh says, would be covered by flood insurance which they did not think they needed.

Karen Morfitt