Broadmoor residents living with little, no water

Published 1:01 am Thursday, November 16, 2017


NATCHEZ — Families in the Broadmoor community have had little to no water in the last three weeks, though some say the problem began as far back as June.

Despite having water that only sometimes flows and, when it does, is unsafe to drink, the residents of Broadmoor have continued to receive water bills, and some bills have risen.

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Broadmoor Utilities Inc. President Leola Harris said the drop in water pressure is due to construction in the area, where a new well has been dug, new pipes laid and new, electronic meters installed.

But water pressure has dropped so low that some people have had to vacate their residences until the water returns, Broadmoor resident Fanny Murray said.

One of Murray’s neighbors has an ailing mother, she said, and had to move temporarily because the reduced pressure makes it impossible for hospice nurses to care for the woman.

Murray has decided to remain in her residence, which her mother bought in the 1970s, but she has also been purchasing approximately nine cases of water each week to drink and cook for her family.

But a few streets over from Murrays, Eddie Hooker has no water at all during the day — and a water bill nearly twice what he normally pays.

He turned on the faucet in his kitchen Wednesday and nothing happened. The water bill on the kitchen table, however, showed a charge of $103.

Hooker said his bill averages between $40 and $60, but has never had a bill this high.

“I’m not paying it,” he said. “They can’t cut my water off — I don’t have any water.”

Hooker said, he wakes up and showers each day around 3 a.m., one of the few times the water pressure rises enough for him and his wife, Pamela, to use.

Hooker said the problem began back in June, but that the water pressure had “subsided more and more each day.”

Perhaps more than the inconvenience of having no water on hand, Hooker said he fears what would happen in an emergency, such as a fire.

“With no water pressure, what would we do?” Hooker said. “If we have a fire, what’s going to happen?”

On Oct. 23, Broadmoor Utilities met with residents to address the water pressure issue.

Hooker said during the meeting, Broadmoor Utilities representatives said they would partner with another water company to temporarily provide water to the community.

Resident Kathryn Washington said she wanted to connect to the Adams County Water Association.

Broadmoor Utilities told her the ACWA had no sewage service in Broadmoor and that, if Washington wished to receive water from another provider, she would have to purchase and install a septic tank.

Washington also said she was also told that the water would be functional again on Nov. 30.

“They promised it would get better,” she said. “We have been told one lie after another.”

Resident Linda Montgomery said she asked about the possibility of boil-water notice in the Oct. 23 public meeting.

“I asked them, ‘Why has no one received a boil-water notice?’” she said. “They put one up the next week.”

The Mississippi Department of Health website shows a boil-water notice for Broadmoor Utilities went into effect Nov. 3.

No letters were ever sent out, however, residents said. They found out about the notice primarily through word of mouth, residents said. Some houses consistently have water, but have so little pressure that their showers and washing machines cannot function.

Montgomery said her shower head has not worked in months.

Montgomery keeps a large cooler on her counter filled with drinking water. Outside on the carport, several large plastic bins are filled with water she got from a friend’s house.

Montgomery had back surgery just a few months ago, she said, and had completely weaned off her paid medication.

Lifting containers of water every day just to shower, cook, or drink, she said, has reversed some of that progress. She is now back on a pain medication.

Ricky Marshall said he did not know that low water pressure can damage a washing machine until his broke.

Now, along with buying gallons of water each week to drink and cook and paying his regular water bill, Marshall has purchased a new washing machine.

“Until I get some service, I guess I’ll still pay (the water bill),” Marshall said, “but it’s not fair.”

Harris, head of Broadmoor Utilities Inc., said the reduced pressure is due to the overhaul of the water system.

“It’s not like we’re sitting around not doing anything,” Harris said. “We’ve done more work in the last two weeks than has been done in this area in 30 years.”

Since the water often had to be shut off when replacing pipe or digging in the new well, Harris said the pressure has remained low for an unusual period of time.

But, contrary to the report from several residents, Harris said the low water pressure only began two weeks ago.

She said the outage affects everyone in the Broadmoor community, though some more than others.

Those who are located closer to the new well, like Murray, are more likely to have a low water pressure than those who live farther away, where the water has had room to fill pipes, she said.

“This is affecting me just as much as other people,” Harris said. “People have been talking to us, and I know because it’s affecting me, too.”

Residents disagree, however, saying Harris lives farther from the plant, where the water pressure is low, but water does flow from the pipes.

Harris said though the construction is disruptive, it is vital to the area.

“What’s being done here should have been done 15 years ago,” she said. “We have been waiting. Hopefully, the water will come back and the residents will be happier than ever.”

The result, Harris said, will be a better water system for the area, with new automatic meters and newly-replaced piping.

Harris said she expects the water pressure to normalize today.