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City reimburses landowner after 2-year water leak

The city of Hendersonville will reimburse Haywood Road property owners for work they had done to protect their property from a city water leak.

Dr. Mickey Coleman and her husband, Chris, veterinarians who own Haywood Animal Hospital, had reported the water leak from city water line two years ago. The city fixed the line on July 29 after Mickey Coleman's calls to state Rep. Chuck McGrady and a visit from the Hendersonville Lightning, which published a story on the leak on July 31.
The Colemans say the PVC pipe that drained into a ditch was pouring 13,000 gallons a day of treated water into a ditch along N.C. 191. They feared that the constant flow of water would undermine the bank and possibly cause the road to collapse. They spent about $7,000 on rock riprap to protect the bank.
The leak was caused by a shutoff valve that had failed, city utilities director Lee Smith said. Once the source was identified, city crews fixed the problem in less than a day and the water stopped.
"We reimbursed them for stabilizing the ditch," said City Manager John Connet. "We felt like we had a potential claim there and we wanted to resolve it with the Colemans. It had gone on long enough and we felt like it was the right thing to do."
The Colemans submitted receipts showing they had paid $6,586.78 for the ditch stabilization; they did not ask for reimbursement for decorative work.

Mickey Coleman said she and her husband had tried several times over two years to make the city respond to the water leak. Connet came out to look at the water pipe on July 3. Coleman called McGrady on July 23 and a reporter from the Lightning visited the property two days later, when two city trucks and three utility department workers also showed up at the site.
"I think it was more than fair and I'm surprised" at the city check, Coleman said. "And I guess the only thing I have to say about the whole situation is I hope there's not such a cavalier attitude in the future about a million gallons here and a million gallons there. That's a lot of water in many parts of the world and it's a natural resource here."