17 Days and Counting Without Running Water (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw - NBC33

February 27, 2014 Updated Feb 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (NBC33 VIDEO) - The cold weather is proving difficult for some area residents. One Fort Wayne woman has been without running water now for 17 days.

It is easy to imagine the struggle Amber Ludwig has been faced with for even the simplest of tasks.

On February 11th Ludwig's water unexplainably stopped working.

"I didn't have any water in my kitchen sink, in my shower, nothing," Ludwig says. "I called the city, there wasn't any water main breaks and they told me my pipes were probably frozen and I needed to get it taken care of."

The following day Ludwig called multiple plumbers in the area until she found Service Mechanics who was willing to come out and try to thaw out her pipes.

"They told us it would probably take a few hours. They thawed out the pipes for what eventually ended up being eight and a half hours and it never broke."

At that point they told Ludwig it was a city issue because the frozen pipe was the pipe that ran out to the street which is city property.

"Throughout the Midwest - its not just the city - there are issues with people having frozen service at their home for water," explains Frank Suarez with Fort Wayne City Utilities. "It could be that the pipes inside your house are frozen, it could be that the water meter has frozen, it could be that the lateral or the pipe that comes from your house to the curb line could be frozen underground outside of your house, or it could be the pipe that is connecting to your house could be frozen. For City Utilities the issue that would be ours would be the part where it comes to the curb. Once it's on the property of the homeowner, that would be their responsibility."

While frozen pipes are nothing new this time of year, the availability of running water is something that most of us take for granted.

It didn't take long for Ludwig to realize that this would have a major impact on her everyday tasks. Everything from washing her dishes to doing her laundry, even flushing her toilet.

"I can't shower in my house, I have to go to my mom's house every time I want to shower," Ludwig points out. "Having to go out to eat all the time because I can't cook or do anything in the house because I can't clean the dishes and I don't have any water to do that with. Spending a lot of money going out to get food and paper plates and all those things you don't really think about."

The only way Ludwig gets fresh, clean water for her and her two dogs to use comes by the truckload from her father.

"I have about 3 five-gallon buckets that I have my dad come and pick up with his truck and fills them for me. Whatever water is left in the bucket by the time he gets here is how much water I have."

Unfortunately, this problem is nothing new to the city. It's something they have been working through every day.

"We have had 52 customers in the city that have reported that they have had issues. We've got about 29 that are still on that list," says Suarez. "We certainly understand that being without water is a big issue. Water is an important thing to all of us and to our everyday lives. The crews are working around the clock, they are trying to get to those as fast as they can but sometimes it takes a long time to figure out where the actual issue is."

Despite her unfavorable circumstances however, Ludwig still considers herself lucky.

"I can't imagine families who have kids and don't have other family in town where they would go. I'm just thankful that I have family and friends in town that I can get water from and I always try to tell myself 'control the controllables' and there is nothing that I can do about it right now."

She knows things could be far worse.

"I'm thankful that it's not my electricity because then I really wouldn't have anywhere to go."

Ludwig has been told that a contractor is working her case and she can expect them any day. Until then she'll just continue waiting.




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