GUTHRIE, Okla. (KFOR) – At Thursday night’s meeting, the Logan County Rural Water District No. 1 board gave homeowners advice after dozens of water heaters in or near the same neighborhood burst or had valve-issues around the same time about a month ago.
The incident happened in the Cascata Falls neighborhood in Edmond.
At last month’s meeting, an attorney representing the water board explained that a “thorough investigation” concluded that the issue happened while an operator was working on a water main break.
“During that repair, the operator made a decision to basically keep the water running from another source from a nearby well,” said the attorney. “So, the idea was to keep the water flowing. Pursuant to that, basically there was a surge in pressure that likely caused some damage.”
Some homeowners say the pressure surge cost them thousands of dollar’s worth of damage.
“I have about 15 people that I insure that are directly affected, and each one of their homeowners’ rates are going to be affected for the next five years,” said Brandon Rondon, an insurance company owner based in Edmond. “These claims are paying out to be $15,000 to $20,000 just on average for each one of their repairs.”
This raised the question: Who’s on the hook for paying for the damage? The homeowners or the water district?
“I don’t think I should be responsible,” said Joshua Russell, a homeowner in the Cascata Falls neighborhood, who had water heater problems after the surge. “Just because it wasn’t an issue with my water heaters. They’re brand-new water heaters. They were replaced only two months ago.”
While no official decision about who’s going to be footing the bill was made Thursday, the board suggested each impacted homeowner submit a claim through the Governmental Tort Claims Act.
“I do think that it’s appropriate for the board to consider claims that are made on an individual basis,” said a board member. “If they’ll submit whatever they have as far as documentation goes, whether that be invoices, pictures, a statement of what happened, then I think the board should look at each claim individually.”
The board added that there are a variety of factors that will be taken into consideration.
“It sounds like they’ll review them and then I guess within their time period, they can accept or deny,” said Ashley Manning, an attorney who also lives in the Cascata Falls neighborhood. “Then after that, if the claims are denied the individual claimants can decide if they want to proceed formally with a lawsuit against the water district.”
A link to the form can be found here. The board said the documents can be sent to 8901 S. Sooner Rd. Guthrie, OK 73044.