Cold weather causes water outages in mobile home park

Cold weather resulted in about 100 residences being without water this weekend, and the management company is still working to get service restored for everyone.

A cold spell in Juneau dropped temperatures into the single digits, turning Juneau’s standing water into ice. The wells at the Thunder Mountain Mobile Home Park pull from ground-level runoff, and as Wright Services (the property management company) General Manager Chuck Collins explained, the wells couldn’t pull nearly as much water as usual with so much of it frozen. It’s a problem that comes up most years, he said.

With people in the residences using their water or keeping their faucets running to prevent pipes from freezing, the wells simply couldn’t pull enough water out of the ground to keep up, Collins said. Wright Services employees shut the water off for a little while Saturday to try and help the wells catch up, but didn’t want to have it shut off for too long. They restarted service again, but with so many people using water, the wells again went dry.

Collins was regretful that he didn’t shut the water off for longer to allow more time for the wells to build up pressure.

“We just weren’t able to keep up,” Collins said. “What I should have done was told everybody Saturday, ‘Shut your water off.’”

On Tuesday morning, most of the residences were still without water or with very limited water, but by 4 p.m., Collins said, all but about a dozen residences had working water. Thunder Mountain resident Frances Andrews said she had “a trickle” on Tuesday morning, but by the time she got home just after 5 p.m., the water was on and she had a load of laundry going by 5:15 p.m.

“We are fortunate enough to be able to run to the store for gallons of water for drinking,” Andrews said when her water was out, “but my guess is that there are disabled folks that aren’t so lucky.”

Andrews said her family hadn’t received any notices or updates on the outage or the progress with restoring the wells. She also said that nobody picked up when she called the emergency phone line and when someone did, they didn’t have any answers.

Collins admitted that he’s still looking for more effective ways to communicate with the residents about situations like this. He had employees put postings on people’s doors, but he said it’s possible that not everybody saw them.

Though this is Wright Services’ first year running the park, Collins said this is a problem that happens every year at parks around town. Andrews said can recall this happening twice before since she moved in five years ago, and said the previous owners did a better job of communicating with the residents.

On Tuesday afternoon, Collins said that he and Wright Services employees made a run to Costco and delivered water to residents.

“It’s been a tough weekend,” Collins said, “so we’re doing what we can.”

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.

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