Taking Action: Woman helps town get running water

Published 07/31 2013 08:41PM

Updated 08/01 2013 11:13AM

STATE LINE CITY, IN -- Several people in her community were without water for days, but instead of waiting for help, she took matters into her own hands. It happened earlier this month in State Line City, Indiana. Fourteen people were without water.

All but one home has water now, but residents still don't know for sure how it happened. Water stopped running in homes just minutes after a nearby farmer's irrigation system kicked in.

As WCIA-3's Megan Brilley reports, Marla Gudgel didn't waste time pointing fingers.

"I wanted to make sure that people were being taken care of and I knew that contacting the DNR was the first step to take."

Marla Gudgel told them her daughter and 13 of her neighbors were without running water. With temperatures reaching 90 degrees that day, she knew she could help DNR make a plan.

"They needed someone to show them where these properties were."

Gudgel has lived in State Line City for 37 years and knows where everyone lives. She made a layout of the town for DNR highlighting homes with red x's that were without water.

"I felt terrible for them. My daughter she has a 4-year old little girl. They were having to come over here and take showers and baths if she needed to do laundry."

DNR has been trying to figure out how it happened for the past couple of weeks.

It's investigating local farmer Keith Wright's irrigation system. He was testing it the day the water stopped running. Wright hasn't been named as the culprit yet, but he has paid out of his own pocket to fix the wells and get the water running again.

"I give him great credit," Gudgel said. "He still stepped up and is taking care of the residents."

Water levels still aren't quite what they used to be, but life in State Line City is finally getting back to normal.

"People just don't realize how essential it is. You have to have water."

No word yet on when the DNR investigation will be completed, but Wright has said he will continue to pay for wells to be worked on until it is.

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