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Pineview Water Systems mishandled leaky Ogden reservoir, audit reports

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Posted at 10:30 PM, Nov 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-11 00:30:11-05

OGDEN, Utah -- A group of Ogden flood victims say they feel vindication, after the Utah State Auditor confirmed a local water utility mishandled a leaky reservoir, which caused water to come pouring into their homes for more than three months.

"From day one we felt that Pineview was not proactive in helping us to even address this problem," said Ogden resident Jessica Smith.

Smith was one of the first residents on Douglas Street to experience flooding back on June 28. It wasn't until Aug. 9 that Pineview Water Systems discovered it was coming from a leaky reservoir.

By that time 14 homes were affected.

"We weren't ignoring anyone we were looking for the leak or the source of the water," said Terel Grimley, spokesman of Pineview Water Systems. "It's just a matter of finding it, sometimes you find it quickly and sometimes it takes a while to find a leak."

However, these efforts to find the leak were inadequate, according to the state audit of the Weber Box Elder Conservation District, which is an entity of Pineview Water Systems.

The audit states, "The District's response to the flooding appeared to be haphazard and unsystematic and did not focus on the priorities of discovering the source of the water, stopping or slowing the flow of water, and finding and fixing the leak."

"We have had people telling us, 'we need to let this go, and we need to stop pursuing it,' so I'm grateful we were able to push through and now having this state audit to back us up, that this was real," said flood victim Ali Lundell.

Lundell, along with Smith, are two of eight home owners seeking more than $100,000 in total reimbursements for the flood damage.

"We don't have the means and the funds to be able to put this back together nor do we feel we should have to put forth thousands of dollars in order to fix this problem," Smith said.

Pineview officials say their insurance company is meeting with the flood victims to figure out a settlement. They also say this audit will prove to be a positive experience.

"Some of the things that the auditor brought up we need to work on and we are working on those, we're going to do some additional training," Grimley said.