COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — It's a scene no one wants to be greeted by after an out of town trip, and it was just the beginning of the nightmare that awaited Commerce City resident James Heiberg last month.
"When I walked in, the smell was just overwhelming," Heiberg said. "There was human feces. The rooms were just saturated. The shower was covered with feces."
According to Heiberg, the home he recently bought is now ruined.
"It looked like a river, literally, was flowing through my house of sewer water," Heiberg said.
His furniture and many personal belongings were destroyed. Repair costs are well above $40,000. This isn't an ideal situation for anyone, but for Heiberg, the incident couldn't come at a worst time.
"I tell you, it's creating a lot of stress. I just moved in here six months ago. I went through a divorce, moved in here and now we're going through this of no fault of my own."
The South Adams County Water and Sanitation District oversees the sewer lines in Heiberg's neighborhood. He believes they are at fault and should foot the bill.
But, the utility is shifting fault back on him.
In a statement to Denver7, the district said in part "it appears that this resident experienced flooding due to a blockage caused by flushable wipes and the accumulation of fats, oils and grease sent into the wastewater system."
However, the district stopped short of saying Heiberg did all that, adding "While the District is not responsible for the damage to this property, we do try to work with customers who experience back-ups. We always encourage our customers to contact us directly and, if necessary, work with our insurance carrier to resolve any issues."
According to Heiberg, he spent more than a month trying to get any response from the district. Only after Denver7 reached out did the district respond Wednesday, though it likely won't help this homeowner, stuck with a very smelly repair.