Tuesday, April 9 was no average day for residents of Tower Village apartment complex. Instead of returning to their homes to make dinner, take post-practice showers or study, residents were faced with the dilemma of continuing their evening without fresh, running water.
According to David Canady, the Operations Manager of Irving Water Facilities, the complex’s water main broke earlier that day.
Jana Kay Mobarak, the Regional Supervisor of Centra Partners, the company that manages Tower Village, said in an email that Tower Village was first made aware of the problem at “8 a.m., when the staff arrived to see a new waterfall cascading down the front corner of the property below the community signage.”
Although the break was noticed in the morning hours, Canady said that the city was not notified until 1 p.m.
Water for the complex was shut off around 6:30 p.m. while repairs were completed by a private plumbing company hired by Tower Village.
The repairs took about six hours, with water returning for good to residents from 12:00-12:30 a.m.
While he could provide no comment on the frequency of such events, Canady stated, “two to eight hours is the usual time to fix breaks.”
Because water mains are located underground, crews first need to investigate the area surrounding the break in order to ensure no electric or gas lines are harmed during repairs.
“The repairs were made within a 12-hour period from the time we notified the city,” Mobarak wrote. “The City shut off the water at their cut off and turned it back on as soon as they were able to.”
In an initial statement, Mobarak said that the break would not affect water bills, as the break occurred on a non-metered pipe. She also emphasized the “very mundane” nature of the incident, referring to the break in an email as “a VERY normal, very un-newsworthy event, things break, you fix it, life moves on?”
“It’s a pipe — they get old and break, it happens every day all over the world — could be pressure, could be age,” Mobarak said.
In response to the incident, Tower Village informed residents of the impending water shut off via notices on their front doors.
One source, who preferred to remain anonymous, found management’s notices incomplete. While they informed residents of the shut off and provided assurance that the issue was being taken care of, no explanation of the cause of the break was given.
“It was surprising to me that [Tower Village] took no blame” for the problem, said the source.
Furthermore, the notices informed residents that all the office answering machines were broken and could not accept calls.
“It was very deflecting,” said the source. “People stressed out a little too much … but [Tower Village] didn’t really do anything to fix it.”
This person was one of many who contacted friends in the student apartments asking to use their showers, as the water was not turned back on until late evening.
University of Dallas student Gabriel Lim said that he was not notified of the shutoff, nor was he aware of any Tower Village attempts to communicate with residents.
According to Lim, management often fails to notify his apartment. Tower Village “sometimes miss out our apartment – they don’t always manage to send emails and/or letters informing what happens,” Lim said. He continued, “it might be they sent residents notifications, but failed to inform my apartment for whatever reason.”