Life at the Creekwood Park apartment complex in Palmer is anything but pleasant.
Complaints of backed up toilets, sinks and dishwashers, and having to take showers and baths in brown water, is the talk among several families living there.
"Every day our water goes from, this, to this to this, to this,” said Sarah Eaton as she pointed to a jar of murky water. “We cannot drink our water, it’s not clear enough."
A breast cancer survivor, mother of two kids and resident of the complex since January 2012, Eaton wants to get out, but cant.
"I am living in low-income housing for a reason; I do not have the money to move."
The Caldwell, Idaho-based company, Somerset Pacific, owns the complex. Chief Asset Manager Ed Cornforth declined a phone interview with Channel 2, but released this statement:
"We have installed a new ground water collection system at the property and have it up and running. We have had to bring in a new operator and engineer to help work out the bugs and are currently in the process of doing that. We have been given a deadline by the state to have all operations finalized and in place with all submittals into the state for final operation by August of this year. We are very concerned for the safety and happiness of our residents at Creekwood and will continue to work toward that end."
The Department of Environmental Conservation also fielded lots of complaints about the water at Creekwood. But Program Manager Jeff Warner said the only thing owners of the complex are lacking is the data to show the system is working reliably.
"We do have sampling that shows the new surface treatment system in place is free of bacteria and is doing what it should be doing," Warner said Wednesday.
Cornforth blames a dispute with Northern Utilities, a contractor out of Anchorage hired to design and operate the water treatment system. A spokesman for Northern, who also declined an interview, claims Somerset stopped paying for the system and they had no choice but to abandon the project.
Cornforth said Northern charged them more than originally promised for the project.
None of these explanations are enough to satisfy Eaton.
"Today, I'm noticing that I have a sty on my eye, and I know that it’s because of the bacteria in the water," she adds.
The DEC says the owners of Creekwood have until Monday to have the data reporting system in place or they could be subject to fines or other administrative penalties.
In the meantime, residents at Creekwood are having jugs of fresh water brought in to bathe with and drink.
Contact Adam Pinsker