Some May Lose Water Service

9 years 5 months 3 weeks ago April 09, 2007 Apr 9, 2007 Monday, April 09 2007 Monday, April 09, 2007 6:43:53 PM CDT in News

Edith Okulicz said she and more than 100 neighbors got a surprise in the mail a week ago from Suburban Water and Sewer Company.

"It says your water service will be shut off indefinitely and that's not good," she said.

Service could be shut off as soon as this summer.

Neighbors think the deadline means "trouble, absolutely exclamation point trouble," Okulicz said.

Suburban Water and Sewer brings water to about 140 homes. Its lawyers said the private utility company is bankrupt.

"There's about $100,000 of necessary improvements to be made; there's no money to do them with," attorney Matt Volkert said.

"I don't think very many people in the United States live in a place where they can make a threat like that," Okulicz said.

One neighbor was so put back by the problem that she didn't want her face on camera.

"It's embarrassing to think that somebody thinks they have the right in this day and age to do that to people-- to treat you like a bunch of crap," she said.

Alternative agreements with the Missouri Public Service Commission like trucking in water haven't worked out.

"We're kind of in between a rock and a hard place," Volkert said. "We can't get the rate increases we need. We can't give away our facilities for free."

Okulicz said with a laugh that a possible future without water would be like "fancy camping."

Lawyers for the utility said they will continue to work with the Public Service Commission so the water keeps flowing.

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