News Opinion Sports Videos Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Events Search/Archive Community Schools Churches Announcements Obituaries Calendar Contact Us Advertisements Search/Archive Public Notices

Water, water, everywhere ...

But Pleasant View Loop resident experiences problems getting H2O to the house

  • Judy Purkey fills one of the gallon bottles of water she keeps in reserve in her home for the times when the water goes out at her home on Pleasant View Loop just west of Clinton. She also keeps a supply of bottled drinking water on hand. - G. Chambers Williams

  • Judy and Walter Purkey talk about their ongoing water problems at their home on Pleasant View Loop. They say their, and some of their neighbors’, water, supplied by the Anderson County Water Authority, goes out several times a month, and has for several years. - G. Chambers Williams

Judy Purkey enjoys the scenic vistas from her home on Pleasant View Loop that have made her hilltop neighborhood a special place to live for the past 58 years.

But living high in those hills just west of Clinton has brought an irritating challenge: Getting reliable water service to her home, Purkey says.

Although she concedes that people who live in high places sometimes face problems either getting water at all, or having sufficient water pressure for everyday tasks such as bathing, dishwashing, laundry chores and toilet flushing.

Still, the 77-year-old Purkey, a retired nurse, says the water problems she and her husband, Walter, have suffered over the past four years or so have been the worst since they’ve lived in the neighborhood off Sulphur Springs Road.

She blames it on a decision by the Anderson County Water Authority to remove a small pumping station on Pleasant View Loop about four years ago, during which time she says the water utility also put in a new two-inch water line to feed the homes in her neighborhood.

Since then, she said, about 20 homes and a church on Pleasant View Loop have had to deal with low water pressure and frequent outages.

She said the problems often keep her busy complaining to the water authority and calling in plumbers to fix problems the water outages have caused with pipes, toilets and appliances in her home.

Pleasant View Loop’s water is provided by the Clinton-based Anderson County Water Authority, The authority’s assistant manager, John Mitchell, acknowledges that there have been some recurring water issues for Purkey and her neighbors, particularly since the pump station was removed and the new water lines were put in.

But he insists that Purkey’s complaints are somewhat exaggerated, and that the upgrades the water authority made in her neighborhood improved water service for about 60 customers on her street, as well as in nearby neighborhoods that had previously had worse service.

“This is an area we inherited from the previous water provider, the North Anderson County Water Utility,” Mitchell said. “About three or four years ago, we went onto Pleasant View Loop and replaced a failing two-inch galvanized line with a new two-inch PVC line.

“We did away with the little pump, which was no longer necessary.

“We did plumbing and restructuring that gave 50 to 60 customers better water pressure. The goal was to give everybody good water pressure over a wider area, even over on Black Oak Road.”

The problem now, though, is that the new two-inch PVC line that serves the area’s homes is fed by a larger asbestos and concrete line about two-and-a-half miles long that needs to be replaced, Mitchell said.

“It’s very brittle and keeps blowing out, and of course, when we go in to fix a leak, we have to shut off the water to the whole area for a while as we make the repairs,” he said.

Mitchell concedes that the old water line needs replacing, but he doesn’t know yet when the water authority will be able to do that work.

“We will probably get to it within the next five years, but we can’t make any promises,” he said. “We have other areas in our system that are in a lot worse shape. Pleasant View Loop is not high on our priority list.

“What’s important is that we did improve water service for most of the people in that area. Further improvements will have to wait.”

Systemwide, Mitchell said, the Anderson County Water Authority has 650 miles of water lines, and right now, “We need to replace or re-lay about 200 miles of that. That takes time and money, so we can’t do it all at once.”

The water authority has about 9,750 customers, most of whom are served water from one of the authority’s two water plants – one along the Clinch River on Oak Ridge Highway west of Clinton, and the other on New Clear Branch Road near Rocky Top.

A few customers in the county get their water from the city of Norris, he added, although they are billed by the Anderson County authority, which pays Norris for the water.

“Maintaining reliable water service is a challenge,” said Mitchell, who has worked for the Anderson County authority for 26 years.

“Lines break,” he said. “The ground is constantly moving, and there is nothing we can do about that. With extreme dry or cold weather, things are going to break.”

For Purkey and her neighbors on Pleasant View Loop, those words are of little consolation, though.

“We just try to live with it at our home,” Purkey said. “We keep about a dozen gallon jugs of water stored in the garage to flush our toilets when the water is out, and we always keep a good supply of bottled water on hand for drinking and cooking. That’s the only way we can cope.” @gchambers3