Residents of the Monolithic domes gamble each time they turn on a faucet, often unsure of the water’s quality or the manner in how it will be delivered.
South Ellis County Water Supply Corporation, the utility provider to the Italy-based domes along I-35E, has repeatedly issued boil-water notices to customers due to infrastructure issues. In fact, the most recent warning was published Thursday.
Resident Jon Washington stated over his year and a half in the domes the water has always been an issue.
“A month and a half ago it was horrible,” Washington said. “People were putting water in buckets, warming it on the stove and then taking it in [their homes] to bathe with.”
Washington and several other residents have had enough — a lawsuit filed by Monolithic Construction against South Ellis County WSC is currently under litigation.
According to documents filed by Waxahachie Attorney Dan Gus, who represents Monolithic, states South Ellis County WSC has supplied water to Monolithic’s Morgan Meadows subdivision since April 2008.
Documents state South Ellis County WSC told Monolithic it had violated its non-standard service agreement in late 2016 by building additional homes apart from the existing 48 in Morgan Meadows. The company was informed it would have to submit a new application and pay fees for the installation of larger water meters.
However, Monolithic contends it had not built any new dome-style homes.
Gus explained the new non-standard service contract would allow South Ellis County WSC to make stipulations such as money or infrastructure upgrades.
“Monolithic was not willing to do that. They have had this contract in place for years and have not added any infrastructure to Morgan Meadows. They (South Ellis County WSC) said ‘if you don’t submit the application we are going to turn off your water,’” Gus said. “South Ellis County came in and put in a pressure regulator, which means is there was not enough water to serve these units.”
To offset the pressure regulator, court documents state Monolithic installed a small pressure tank and a booster pump on the side of its meter. During periods of low demand, the tank would fill up, and the booster pump was then able to provide pressure when the demand increased.
Mike South, president of Monolithic, said the original contract allowed the company to install a booster pump.
Gus stated South Ellis County WSC told Monolithic that, if the booster pump and tank were removed, the pressure on the system would be restored. Monolithic complied and pressure was restored.
However, Gus described the situation to be "détente ever since."
South stated his company had had a good working relationship with South Ellis County WSC up until a few years ago.
“Those guys came in and said, ‘you have too many buildings here. We are going to make you pay a quarter of a million dollars to upgrade those lines because it was not done right.’ They have threatened to shut off our water if we didn’t pay,” South said. “We have been having some talks with them because we want to be apart of the community also. So far there has not been anything that has come across the table that has been any good.”
Resident Brett Weber stated he does not trust the water that comes out of the tap and instead sticks to bottled water.
“At this particular location, I get lime and calcium build up on most of my faucets. On my showerhead, I get really good build up on there. It has never been good quality,” Weber said. “I don’t use it for cooking or to drink. I will use it for sanitation purposes, but that is it.”
Another resident, Lester Smith, shared Weber’s concern about the water and stated he receives notices to boil his water about every two months.
“I drink bottled water too because I have heard that there was something in the water. I don’t drink it out of the tap, but I use it to cook with,” Smith said. “I do boil when they give us a notice.”
Resident Chuck Buie shared it is not so much the water quality for him, but it is the lack of pressure at times.
“I don’t know what the problem is but the pressure is never steady. It is supposed to be the same pressure all of the time. It never is. Sometimes it will go down to a stream, and sometimes it does just fine,” Buie said. “You can’t take a shower because the pressure changes on you and you get burned or frozen.”
Resident Sherry Washington shared her husband Jon's view about the water problems.
“We don’t use it for brushing our teeth and cooking with it. We don’t trust the quality of it at all,” Sherry said. “It has not made us sick, but we have heard bad things. It does not taste good.”
Sherry stated she buys two or three cases of bottled water a week and has removed noticeable particles from her faucet. She also noted a change in service after the new McDonald’s restaurant opened up for business.
Gus stated his clients are willing to work with South Ellis County. He also noted the case is still pending at this time.
Myron Majors, board president of South Ellis County WSC, declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Daily Light spoke to Jason Willet, who is listed on court documents as the attorney for South Ellis County WSC. Willet referred the Daily Light to Trish Coy, who was unable to be reached as of press time.
According to the Manta website, the South Ellis County Water Supply Corporation has was established in 1967 and has a total yearly revenue of $747,430.