Officials, residents argue over frozen pipes

LANSINGBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Lansingburgh homeowners have been living without water for eight days due to frozen pipes, but now a battle is brewing over who is responsible for fixing them.

Several residents on Fourth Avenue in Lansingburgh have been without water for eight days. But instead of helping residents, city officials said residents need to address the problem themselves or file a claim.

“If I’m responsible for half the street out there, and the people on the other side of the street are responsible for the other half, what is the city responsible for?” resident Eric Daus asked. “Nothing?”

Daus and his mother have been without water. One morning, their water turned brown, and then their service lines froze. Daus said Troy city officials told him to wait for the pipes to thaw or to take care of it himself.

“What if it was January 1 and this happened?” he positioned. “Are they gonna tell me to wait three, four, five months until it thaws out? That’s crazy.”

Daus has been going to friends as many as five times a day just to maintain. Frost has reached five feet into the ground with the constant cold weather. But Troy Public Utilities Superintendent Chris Wheland said this type of issue is not the city’s problem.

“If the service line into the building were to break, we are responsible up to the curb stop,” he said. “If we’re not responsible for water usage to keep it from freezing, we can’t be responsible for the water freezing in the service line.”

Wheland said those affected should call a plumber or contractor to find the best way to thaw the lines. Meanwhile, Troy City Councilman Jim Gordon said that answer is not good enough.

“If we own these, we should take care of the problem and we should’ve taken care of the problem a long time ago,” he said. “To say that we don’t have machinery, we don’t have a responsibility – poor judgment and lack of leadership.”

“They keep saying call a plumber; call a contractor,” Daus said. “We don’t have the money to being with. But we shouldn’t have to. It’s their responsibility.”

Wheland said the steps the city has taken so far have been a courtesy, and they are not mandated to do it. But Gordon said if the city continues with its current attitude, he’ll draw up a resolution to ensure the city is responsible if similar incidents occur in the future.

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