Long Barn water service hit and miss

January 17, 2003 12:00 am
Paper plates have replaced everyday dishes for Phillip Martin, who has been mostly without water for almost three weeks. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).
Paper plates have replaced everyday dishes for Phillip Martin, who has been mostly without water for almost three weeks. (Amy Alonzo/Copyright 2003, The Union Democrat).

By ABBY SOUZA

Long Barn resident Phillip Martin hasn't taken a shower since Sunday.

When he went to a friend's house five days ago to watch football, he used the half-time break to shower there.

He and his mother, Barbara Kruger, with whom he lives, have been dining out for nearly three weeks and eating leftovers off paper plates. Martin's even had to fill his dog's bowl with store-bought spring water.

"You never realize how much you use it until you lose it," Martin said.

Martin's house, like the 140 others served by the Slide Inn Water Co., has been affected since New Year's Eve. Though there was water this morning, most days, there is none.

"When we have water, the pressure is so low you can't even rinse out your hair," Martin said.

Slide Inn Lodge owner Bonnie Fox has suffered the same fate. Her motel and cabins have had water only four out of the last 18 days.

"I'm losing so much money," Fox said. "I'm so frustrated I'm about to cry."

Some customers have stayed, Fox said, and brought their own water to the lodge. Others have not been so understanding.

Not everyone wants to melt snow in order to flush the toilets.

In the 20 years Fox has owned the Slide Inn Lodge, she said she cannot remember a time the water has been out for this long.

"We are absolutely helpless," she said. "We're at the mercy of the water company."

Slide Inn Water Co. has served the Long Barn area — referred to as Slide Inn by many of its residents — for more than 30 years.

The company runs two sets of water tanks and pumps. The largest of the two has had various problems since New Year's Eve, which have caused gaps in water service, Manager Ann Foster said.

The problems began when a power outage shut off the system's water pump in late December. Then, a massive water leak developed Dec. 30 at a home renovation project, draining the 150,000 gallon water tank, Foster said. A third problem occurred when an old shut-off valve was mysteriously opened, flooding Sugar Pine Creek and further draining the tank.