SAWS denied resident's water damage claim

SAWS reports millions of gallons of water lost every year, in part due to broken water mains and old pipes.

According to SAWS spokeswoman, Anne Hayden, it is the cost of doing business, but a San Antonio resident said it ended up costing her.

"When I came out here the water was flowing super fast so I went to the garage," said Melissa Burrier. "I checked on that, of course it was passed my ankles."

Burrier said the gushing water covered her driveway and seeped into her garage, drenching some power tools, childrens' toys and boxes of clothing.

She filed a claim with SAWS a couple days later, but was denied.

In a letter, SAWS replied, "There was no use of motor-driven equipment or a motor-driven vehicle operated by a SAWS employee that caused or contributed to the damage."

"That was confusing to me because it shouldn't matter whether somebody from SAWS ran over the line or not," Burrier said.

Shocked by the response, Burrier reached out to the Trouble Shooters to investigate.

Hayden's response was surprisingly different than the original response given to Burrier.

"I can't say that what happened in the storage area (garage) is necessarily immediately due to the main break," Hayden said.

She confirmed that water was shooting out of a main break that happened next door to Burrier and that there was overflow onto Burrier's driveway and in her garage.

Hayden explained that SAWS repaired the neighbor's driveway where the rupture occurred, but that the water that flowed next door as a result of the main break was considered a secondary

issue and therefore not within the state limits of liability.

"The pipes are SAWS property, the water is SAWS property, that's why we pay for it and that is their problem to maintain it," Burrier said.

Hayden responded saying we all own that water and with thousands of miles of pipe, SAWS has to be efficient in paying out claims.

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