But the somewhat graphic description of his water’s color is the most telling.
“I would take showers and the water would turn the gray hairs on my chest red,” he said.
But people like Steger – who complain about the company’s water service – are becoming rarer, at least according to the number of complaints received by the private utility. In fact, complaints about water color, poor pressure and other service problems dropped by a third on average from 2004 through 2006, when compared with the previous three years.
One of the city’s main reasons to take over the private northern system was to provide better water.
The city started an eminent domain action in 2002 to acquire the northern system. Last summer, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in a 3-2 vote that the city can take the utility through eminent domain. Aqua Indiana is challenging the city’s $16.9 million appraisal of its assets, but has not yet publicly offered what it believes is a fair price.
Steger, 68, bought his home on Windsor with the promise his home was on City Utilities. Upon discovering the water was from Aqua Indiana, he installed a water softener for $500, which he said was necessary to make the water potable. Even with the softener, he said the water still comes out red or black at times. He said he pays about $18 a month for salt for the softener.
Even if the cost of acquiring the private utility comes in more expensive for the city, Steger said he would be willing to pay a premium to relieve himself of the hassles.
“I don’t mind paying for a quality product,” he said.
-This article serves as a harsh repudiation of the water company’s fair rights. Given that the case is to be tried by a jury of peers in the community, when the community offers phone numbers to call for “complaints,” one wonders how fairly the water company can be treated in this situation.