Malta Gardens Residents Without Water Since New Year's Day

Malta Gardens Residents Without Water Since New Year’s Day

Updated 1/11/18 at 9:10 p.m.–A statement received from Solomon Group said, “On January 1, 2018, water service was disrupted at Malta Gardens, a mobile home park, and Malta Pointe, a garden apartment community, in an incident triggered by severe cold and exacerbated by excess water use by mobile home park residents attempting to avoid pipes freezing.

In the course of making repairs, Malta personnel observed more than 50 mobile homes not compliant with heat-tape requirements or other community plumbing standards. Malta  Gardens mobile home sites are leased to private owners and, while Malta is not responsible for
the failures indicated, management has restored service to all of the effected homes by 4:45pm today.

Also in the course of making repairs, personnel were alerted to a leaking oil tank owned by a mobile home owner. The leak was immediately reported to the NY Department of  Environmental Control, which estimated a leak of 60 gallons, and a clean-up firm to address the
issue. The DEC, according to its statement, “out of an abundance of caution,” is requiring water quality testing and report results to the Department of Health. 

MaltaGardens homes are required to inspected annually. The property expects to successfully answer a summons from DOH related to water service issues by January 23rd.

MALTA – Residents of the Malta Gardens mobile home park and Malta Pointe apartments packed into Monday’s Town Board meeting seeking answers and assistance after many have gone with little to no water since New Year’s Day.

Residents complained that lack of water is an annual issue during the winter at Malta Gardens, but the outages normally last only a few days.

The property is overseen by the Solomon Organization, company spokesman Ron Simoncini addressed the assembled residents saying that the issue was originally thought to be a water main break, but inspections turned up only minor leaks.

According to Simoncini the property features six wells that transfer water to residences through eight miles of underground pipes that have been leaking approximately 130,000 gallons of water each night.

Simoncini admited that the property may have infrastructure issues and the management group plans to look into increasing the number of wells before next winter. Adding to the problem are freezing pipes and low water pressure due to over use as residents left faucets running to prevent freezing pipes.

Simoncini informed residents that crews would be on site Tuesday to work on thawing out frozen pipes and that he hoped to have some level of water services restored to all residents by Thursday morning.

Residents say that the outage has already gone on too long leading to questions of safety while residents have been left without water for drinking, bathing, cleaning or flushing a toilet.

Malta Gardens Residents Without Water Since New Year's Day

Solomon Organization spokesman Ron Simoncini addressed residents effected by water outages at Malta Gardens Monday./Photo by Ashley Onyon

“My wife is sick, I can’t get her out, she’s had the flu,” resident Ed Shoemaker said. “She’s an elderly woman so I have a standup shower for her. I’ve got no place I can take her to take a shower, but does anybody care? That’s a health issue.”

The Solomon Organization has provided residents with a gallon of bottled water each day, but residents say that a single bottle per household per day is far from adequate.

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A boil water advisory has been in effect for residents with water since the problem arose. One resident said that even after boiling the water remains cloudy, is not suitable for drinking and leaves behind a greasy residue if used for cleaning.

Residents vented their frustrations over poor communication from Solomon, noting that the only contact number they have connects to an answering machine.

Simoncini said that it was not possible to respond to all of the calls that had been received, but the company had hand delivered three separate letters with updates to all effected residences and would provide corporate oversight when reviewing calls in the coming days.

“My boyfriend has been home, he didn’t get one of them. I’ve been getting them through email, which is fine,” resident Kristina Hardy said. “When you started attaching them to the doors we stopped getting the emails, so I never got those letters.”

Town Supervisor Vincent DeLucia told residents that while the town does not have the authority or ability to provide water to those effected, code enforcement officers had been sent to the property over the lack of adequate water quantity and pressure as required by New York State Property Maintenance Code.

Code enforcement officers issued a citation requiring that Malta Gardens provide adequate water within 14 days.

Simoncini expressed the company’s commitment to restoring water within the 14-day period.

“We are under an obligation to provide you with water regardless of what the statute says. We’re under a moral obligation and we’re under a business obligation,” he said. “This is what we do for a living. This is what we do with our lives. We wouldn’t be in the real estate business if we didn’t recognize our obligation to provide our tenants a basic service.”

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Town Councilman Craig Warner, who also serves as Chairman of the Water and Sewer Committee, asked Simoncini to provide daily updates on the situation and to notify him if there were any changes.

Simoncini agreed, adding that he would attend the next Town Board meeting on Monday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. to update residents and town officials on the situation and to answer any questions.

Following the meeting Simoncini said, “I think it was as hard a meeting as I’ve ever attended, not because we have work to do, but because we’ve got a company wide commitment to tenant satisfaction and this is very uncomfortable to not have a specific resolution at my fingertips. We’ll make sure we get it done.

Hardy voiced her hope that the situation would be addressed, noting that she has some water at this point, enough to flush her toilet, but not enough to wash with.

“This has been an ongoing issue with the park, I’ve lived there since 2005 and how they don’t know about it at Solomon is beyond me and all of [Simoncini’s] flowery words aren’t going to make us have water,” Hardy said. “If something doesn’t get done this is a health issue. It’s a quality of life issue. In summer, when it’s dry, it’s only going to get worse.”

Malta Gardens residents seeking to contact the Solomon Group over water outages may call 518-371-2252.

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Reporter Ashley Onyon is a graduate of the journalism program at SUNY Albany. She wrote for the Mohawk Valley Compass for two years covering the GASD Board of Education. She has contributed articles to The Mohawk Valley Independent and the annual journal Upstream.

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