Repairs continue in mobile home community with low water

WAVY/Liz Palka

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Hundreds of residents in a Virginia Beach mobile home park have dealt with little to no water pressure for nearly two weeks. Residents told WAVY.com their water pressure has gotten better in the last few days, but it’s not enough to take a shower or wash clothes.

“I’ve learned a lot of patience from this,” said Robert Ortago, who lives in the County View Mobile Court community.

Ortago and his neighbors are experiencing similar problems. For most of the week, they only had a trickle of water coming from their faucets. In some trailers, they haven’t had enough water to flush toilets, too.

“Now it’s a little bit more of a steady pour if you turn the valves on all the way,” Ortago explained.

There are around 350 trailers in County View and nearly everyone has been affected by the water problem. Smith Plumbing has been on the job since last weekend.

“We haven’t been able to identify the problem yet,” said Jeff Smith, of Smith Plumbing. “We have to be able to shut the water down in different sections so we can identify if we have a problem.”

Smith said they need to put in 16 isolation valves around County View, which will help determine if there’s a break in the line, or another problem.

Virginia Beach Housing Code Administrator Wells Freed told WAVY.com County View management will not be fined for this problem.

Code Enforcement Supervisor Fred Relis was back out at the neighborhood on Friday afternoon. Relis said 36 trailers have had the water shut off completely, due to frozen pipes that burst. The 36 units with broken pipes were contributing to the low pressure other resident were experiencing. Now that those trailers are off the main line, water pressure is improving. However, Smith Plumbing said there is still a bigger issue that is causing the low water pressure in the first place.

“We’re still in the process of putting the valves in, so we haven’t got a whole heck of a lot accomplished yet,” Smith said. “It just takes time to get all these valves in place. And with the weather, by no means does it make it any easier.”

Relis said the city will be at County View again on Monday getting estimates for the repair work that will need to be done. Relis said property management is responsible for underground pipes, while residents are responsible for above ground pipes that go into the trailer.

Relis said the city is reaching out to charities that often can help cover the cost during situations like the one County View is experiencing. Smith Plumbing said they are also lowering their rates for the community.

Residents said their water bill is covered in their rent. County View Property Manager Laurie Bonney said there have been no plans to change the rent for March.

Tim Anderson, of Anderson Law in Virginia Beach, said residents could file a tenant’s assertion claim in General District Court. A tenant’s assertion is filed when a tenant does not believe a landlord is fulfilling a condition that is in the lease. The tenant’s assertion leaves the decision up to a judge of how much rent they should pay while there is no water.

Anderson said tenants could also claim their expenses for however they are currently supplying water.

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