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Woman continues battle against community water supplier

Patricia Stephens says she isn’t the only one dealing with the problem
Published: Aug. 11, 2021 at 6:55 PM CDT
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CASHION COMMUNITY, Texas (KAUZ) - For the past five days, Cashion Community resident Patricia Stephens has been without running water.

“I pay our water bill every month and everything is fine and then boom, this happens,” Stephens said.

Stephens says Friberg Cooper, who is the community water supplier, told her the shutdown was due to the fact that the two buildings on her property were receiving water from the same water meter.

“Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for the water specifically states this. They want us to control the flow of water to one residence and that’s it,” Will Rodgers, Friberg Cooper Board President, said.

Stephens claims the extra building has always been used as a storage unit and not a residence and she feels that she is being accused of a code violation that others in the community are guilty of.

“There are people out [in Cashion Community] who have apartments like this or dwellings like this who have one meter,” Stephens said.

At the moment, Friberg Cooper doesn’t have the authority to inspect each building on properties and was only alerted to Stephen’s situation after the winter freeze caused a pipe to burst in the extra unit.

Now, the supplier is keeping a lock on Stephen’s water until she gets a second meter or cuts off the water line to the second building.

“We don’t like doing that but we have no other choice,” Rodgers said.

Former Friberg Cooper board member, Chester Cox sees the bigger problem as the inconsistency of inspection amongst residents as some are able to get away with having one meter for two buildings, while others are not.

“It needs to be the same for everybody. I don’t care which way we go, it ought to be the same for everybody,” Cox said.

For Stephens, her water may have come to a halt for the time being, but the fight to get it back on her terms continues.

“If you think you’re going to bully me and force me to do something that is unnecessary, well you’ve got another thing coming,” Stephens said.

Stephens did reach out to a TCEQ environmental investigator who said, in his opinion, because the two buildings are in such close proximity to the meter, it shouldn’t be a violation. She also mentioned the next steps in her fight will most likely take place in a courtroom.

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