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Several Heather Ridge Apartment tenants endure days without water, flood damage persists


Management at the Heather Ridge Apartment Complex says the water is safe to use after ongoing issues.

However, flooding issues remain. 

One tenant who wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation from Mills Property, told ABC 17 News that they woke up on the morning of June 30 without any water. The City of Columbia said that was due to a water line issue on the property. 

The water remained off for five days, leaving some residents with nowhere to shower or have clean drinking water. During that time the tenant said they were forced to shower at Planet Fitness and nearly 100 other residents had to share a bathroom in the courtyard. 

“They only provided us with one bathroom sink and a kitchen sink in the clubhouse.  So that was pretty rough,” the tenant told ABC 17 News on Tuesday. 

The tenant said that several other tenants had complained to management, but they either didn’t hear back or were told that they did not know when the water would be restored. 

An ABC 17 News reporter visited the property last week and spoke with another disgruntled tenant who complained about the lack of drinking water in the middle of the summer.

“Our neighbors have a newborn,” the anonymous tenant wrote in a July 2 email. “It’s the middle of summer—obviously, people are upset.” 

On July 2, Heather Ridge Apartments provided residents with 200 water bottles and six-gallon jugs of distilled water for the lower courtyard residents affected. Three days later, gray water was turned on, meaning there was water available for some services, but it wasn't drinkable.

When ABC 17 News called the complex, property manager Melissa Bryson said residents were advised to boil drinking water for 24 hours, per the City of Columbia protocol after a water main break. An email was sent to tenants on July 5 said the boil advisory would end the next day.

However, another tenant ABC 17 spoke to at Heather Ridge, who also wished to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation from the landlord, said that when she first turned the water on it was "brown" and even though the boil advisory is up she is still worried about her kid getting sick from drinking it. She added that the water line looks old and rusted and she believes that the issue could have been prevented

While the water was back on, some tenants woke up to flood damage in their apartments. The tenant said they found their laptop in a puddle of water and a pile of blankets next to their couch was ruined along with a wooden rocking chair.

“Our cats are trying to drink the unsafe gray water as it saturates our rug," the anonymous tenant said.  

After a day of flood water seeping into the apartment, the tenant believes that mold has started to emerge. 

“We woke up this morning and our apartment smells like a dead body,” the tenant said on Tuesday.  

Leigh Kottwitz the Neighborhood Services Manager for the City of Columbia, wrote in an email that they are aware that several of the apartments have flood damage. She wrote that city staff visited the apartment on Tuesday afternoon. 

“As I understand it, the apartment complex understands they are going to have to replace their water line and are doing what they can to accommodate their tenants,” Kottwitz wrote. “The flooded units are a separate issue. I'm not sure if that is flooding due to the heavy rains or a plumbing failure.” 

Bryson those working at the complex do not know when the issue will be resolved. 

“As far as the other issues those are things we are actually working on as far as any other further repairs and that’s all I can say at the moment,” Bryson said. 

Shortly after ABC 17 called an email was sent to tenants saying that due to the rainy weather over the last two days, they were unable to complete the water main repair. However, they added that “our vendors will be back on the property at 8 am tomorrow Wed 7/10 to make permanent repairs to the water main.” 

Heather Ridge expects the repair to be completed by the end of the day but some apartments may have their water shutoff. The 600 and 800 units are expected to have water throughout the day. The email went on to say that drinking water would once again be provided in the clubhouse.

This screenshot shows an email that was sent to residents of Heather Ridge Apartments on Tuesday. Tenants have been dealing with issues the past few weeks, which include a lack of drinking and flood damage. [Courtesy]
Article Topic Follows: Columbia

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Mitchell Kaminski

Mitchell Kaminski is from Wheaton, Illinois. He earned a degree in sports communication and journalism from Bradley University. He has done radio play-by-play and co-hosts a Chicago White Sox podcast.


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