Feature Articles

Falcon Highlands Underdrain System

Who is responsible

By Pete Gawda

The ownership of the underdrain system in Falcon Highlands is still unsettled, which  complicates resolving residents’ complaints about overworked basement sump pumps and flooded basements.

According to a Sept. 18 KRDO News Channel 13 report, residents of Falcon Highlands were concerned that their basement sump pumps were working overtime to keep their basements from flooding.

Dave Doran, president of Upper Black Squirrel Creek Ground Water Management District, said the water table is high in that area of the county; therefore, an underground drainage system to prevent basement flooding was installed when the subdivision was built.

It’s not El Paso County’s issue, said Vernon Stewart, executive director of the El Paso County Communications Department. In an email to the NFH, Stewart said that drainage systems along El Paso County roads are designed to handle runoff from the roads; they are not designed to convey groundwater discharged from adjacent properties. “While the underdrain was installed within the county right of way, the county did not accept maintenance responsibility for the underdrain system because of this limitation,” Stewart said.

A plat for Falcon Highlands Filing 1, filed in 2005, includes a note expressing the intent of Falcon Highlands Metropolitan District to maintain the underdrain system. However, Stewart said there is no documentation that the metro district formally accepted maintenance of the underdrain system.

He said there is no evidence of any damage to the underdrain system. Stewart speculated that overworked sump pumps and flooded basements might be caused by  the recent unusual amount of rainfall.

An unidentified spokesman for the metro district said, “The district has no comment at this time.”  

Doran said there was a recent meeting of Falcon Highlands residents to discuss the flooding problem. He said there will be future meetings with state and local officials to try to resolve this problem.

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