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JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. -- A retired couple, whose home sits alongside the Church Ditch in unincorporated Jefferson County, says they're being bullied by the city of Northglenn.
"It's a nightmare that we're going through," said Marlene Beeler.
Beeler, and her husband, Luciano DiPaolo, have lived at 12345 W. 80th Avenue for more than ten years.
The only access to their property is across an aging bridge that spans the ditch.
Northglenn, which co-owns the 26 mile long ditch with Westminster, says the bridge is deficient.
An engineer's report indicates that the timber beams are "cracked and rotting," and that "the cables are loose and corroded."
The city says the bridge could fail, and that a failure, during the peak water delivery season, would likely block the entire ditch and prevent downstream deliveries.
The ditch provides water to 260,000 residents in Westminster, Arvada and Northglenn.
Beeler said there's no way they can afford to replace the bridge on their own.
"It would cost $40,000 to $60,000," she said, "and we're just an old retired couple."
The engineer's report says, hydraulically, the bridge isn't high enough to provide sufficient capacity for the design flow of the ditch.
In other words, there's not enough clearance under the bridge for the amount of water the ditch can carry.
Design criteria indicate that culverts and bridges must pass 125 cubic feet per second, with an additional two feet of clearance for debris to pass through without blocking the flow.
The report estimates that the ditch is currently only handling about 40 cubic feet per second, and that there is very little clearance under that bridge.
Beeler said she's been issued two summons. One listing two counts of Discharge Unlawful. The other, one count of Public Nuisance.
She said she has no idea what the discharge counts are about, but that the Public Nuisance charge is regarding the bridge.
She has a court date on June 12, at 11 a.m.
Beeler told Denver7 she worries that after her court appearance, the city will come in and tear out the bridge.
"We'll be stranded," she said. "Just going to get groceries, what am I going to do, swim through the water? They're nuts."
Luciano told Denver7 that if the cities want to run more water down the ditch, they should just let it flow over the bridge and leave them alone.
"They think they're everything and they're just bullying us something terrible," he said.
Denver7 reached out to Northglenn to find out what happens next.
There has been no reply this holiday weekend.
We will update the story when we hear back from Northglenn.