For some Holley customers, 2 weeks without water and no end in sight

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Brad DeWaal carries a bag full of one-gallon jugs that he will fill with water because he doesn’t have access to water in his home.

CLARENDON – The deep cold has frozen many waterlines for Holley water customers in the past two weeks. Most have been without water for a short time, waiting a day or two until the waterlines could be thawed.

But two water customers have been waiting two weeks, with no time frame for when water service restored.

Brad DeWaal and his neighbor Scott Parson live outside the village on Route 237 in Clarendon. They can see the village municipal water tank from their front yards. They believed they were hooked into a public water system.

That’s what it says on their tax records. That’s what the real estate agent told DeWaal when he bought his home five years ago.

However, when DeWaal lost his water due to a frozen line, he was told that the line was put in by contractors in the 1960s. The village provides the water, but the 2-inch line is privately owned.

DeWaal is dismayed by the situation, which has him and his family filling jugs with water and taking showers at friends’ houses.

Brad DeWaal holds up a piece of a broken 2-inch waterline that served his home on Route 237. DeWaal bought his house outside the Village of Holley five years ago and was told he was on a public waterline.

“How is it possible you’re on a state highway and are on a private waterline?” DeWaal said at his home today, which is about a half mile south of the village line.

The village and Town of Clarendon have known the waterline was privately put in the 1960s, Clarendon Town Supervisor Richard Moy said.

Clarendon officials have tried before to convince residents on that section of Route 237 to pursue a public water line for the area, but Moy said they have refused.

If the latest problem prompts residents to push for a public line, Moy said the town would be willing to pursue a project.

“It’s always up to the people,” Moy said this afternoon. “We tried it before but they never wanted it.”

To install a public waterline, Clarendon would have to create a water district, do engineering and secure funding, which could be long-term financing to be paid by residents in the district.

It’s a process that sometimes takes several years to get in place by the time the waterline is constructed.

Brad DeWaal points to a spot in his front yard by Route 237 where village crews dug up his yard to investigate a frozen waterline. The standpipe that holds village water is visible south of DeWaal’s by Hillside Cemetery.

DeWaal said he was never told by the town that the line was privately owned until he sought answers in the past two weeks. He said he wouldn’t have bought the house if he had known that reality.

“I wouldn’t have wanted this headache,” he said.

DeWaal and his wife Marcia moved from Hilton to Holley five years ago with their son Ronnie, a junior in high school. DeWaal, a retired deputy with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, said the tax records and mortgage documents all said the house was on public water.

It’s been a difficult two weeks. His son has been staying with a friend so he can use the shower and have “a little more of a normal lifestyle” due to the dry faucets at home, DeWaal said.

He and his wife are also taking showers at friends’ houses, and filling up jugs with water to bring home. It doesn’t look like the situation will change anytime soon.

Holley and Clarendon both say it’s not their responsibility. DeWaal isn’t convinced it’s on the homeowners to fix the line.

He plans to attend Tuesday’s Village Board meeting at 7 p.m. to press the village for help.