Dispute whether pipes are problem for city or owner

By Anthony Antoine | aantoine@wcia.com

Published 02/25 2014 01:00PM

Updated 02/25 2014 01:33PM

FARMER CITY -- It's day 14 and one area woman is still without water. A small part of town had its pipes freeze the past two weeks, leaving residents without water. But, city officials say it's not their responsibility to fix it. WCIA-3's Anthony Antoine digs into the controversy.

The winter weather has taken a toll on the waterlines. At least five homes are without water. One woman says it's been two weeks and she wants answers.

"I know 16 people without water. It took day nine to actually get the city manager down here."

It's day 14 and Marci Hobbs still doesn't have water.

"We've been hauling five gallon buckets of water to pour in the tank to flush the toilet. I've been going to a girlfriend's house to shower every other day."

Her pipes are frozen and she wants the city to fix it, but city leaders say it's her responsibility.

"Our ordinances state that we go to the shut off valve."

That valve can be on the homeowner's property or the city's.

"They went out to check and see if they could turn the shut off valve on and off. They were comfortable it's not the city's problem."

"They said, 'Well, it's not our problem. It's your problem. It's on your side.'"

But, she's not convinced.

"We had heat tape running from the house to the water meter. That line had to be 50 degrees."

The city says it can't take taxpayer dollars and fix her pipes, so they gave her another option.

"The city offered to run a garden hose from one residence to another. We were going to absorb the water bill so no one would have a high water bill."

"That is unacceptable and totally ridiculous. Really, if my water line is frozen under the ground, don't you think a water hose is going to freeze from my neighbor's house to my house?"

Monday, her fiance tried to pump warm water down the pipes.

"It's totally unacceptable how this town has treated their citizens."

The city manager says his employees went to all five houses and, in each case, he says it's the owner's responsibility, not the city's. But, one of Hobbs' biggest gripes is it took them weeks to even come out and check.

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