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Bent Tree resident garners new water meter
Schenk alerts Town to ‘polybutylene pipe’ lawsuit


A Farragut resident again stood before the Town’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen to discuss her dissatisfaction with First Utility District, Thursday, Nov. 6.

Maureen Schenk said her appearance at a recent Board meeting led to her receiving a new water meter.

“I think my public complaint, while it was a pain in their ‘public opinion poll,’ it really did come out in my benefit at least,” she said.

“Since then, my average water usage has gone from 1,133 gallons a day in the month of September/October to 220.

“I don’t know why my water usage has been so outrageous,” she added.


“I had a very interesting time reading [First Utility’s] response to my complaint in the farragutpress [printed Oct. 30 in Vol. 21, Issue. 8],” Schenk said.

In the article, FUD spokesman Wayne Watson said, “Generally, older meters slow down. We don’t think anyone’s bill will be reduced because they got new meters. If anything, the billing will go up.”

“Well, I’ve not got my bill yet, but I’m assuming at the rate of 224 gallons a day as opposed to 1,100, that my bill will have gone down significantly,” Schenk said.

“I think it’s pretty clear evidence at this point that those old meters were not working properly,” she added.

“I will be at that [First Utility] meeting until they reimburse me, because I believe that those meters were wrong.

“I believe this is an issue that is affecting more than a handful of people in the Bent Tree subdivision,” Schenk said.

Schenk also drew the Board’s attention to a national lawsuit Farragut residents might qualify for.

“In our homes and underneath our front yards, we have polybutylene pipes. These polybutylene pipes have been the subject of a class-action lawsuit,” the Cox versus Shell settlement, Schenk said.

Polybutylene pipes were commonly used in homes built between 1978 and 1995.

“If you have a leak inside your home and internal polybutylene pipes, you are still eligible to be reimbursed from this lawsuit,” Schenk said.

Polybutylene pipes may fail early with high water pressure. Schenk complained of high water pressure at her home.

“The one thing I came to complain about was [FUD’s] high rate of PSI: they’re pushing the water into our homes at such a high rate. That is leading to a premature failure of the polybutylene pipes,” Schenk said.

Watson has said PSI is determined by a home’s location: water towers are built in high places, so the lower the elevation of a home, the higher the PSI.

“Counties all around the country have been suing the two companies responsible … and they have been winning in almost every lawsuit,” Schenk said.

“First Utility says they have 30,000 customers. I would venture to say a good chunk of those customers are going to be affected by the polybutylene pipe.

“On average, it will cost between [$2,000] and $8,000 a home if you have to pay for it out of your pocket,” she added.

Schenk said she planned to approach County Commission to see if Knox County would consider entering the lawsuit “so we can have our pipes fixed for free.”

Alderman John Williams thanked Schenk for her public service.

“I’d like to commend you for the public service you’ve provided, as well as the effort you’ve expended,” he said.

“As you learn more, please return,” he added.

 

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