Owner says water restored at West Point Place  

West Point Place, a small mobile home community in West Point, is seen in an undated photo. (Google Street View)

WEST POINT, Ala. – Residents of West Point Place, a small, locally owned mobile home community, said that since around Jan. 14, their homes had no water, and said the property owner had given them no answers. On Jan. 26, the property owner said water has been restored.  

One of the community’s residents, Jonathon Warden, reached out to The Cullman Tribune on Monday, Jan. 22, and said, “We don’t have any running water at our house and no one in our trailer park has had running water in over a week.” Warden said his family and others in the community have small and school-aged children, they’ve been unable to bathe and have resorted to using jugs of water for cooking and cleaning. Warden reiterated, “We have been without running water for eight days now.” 

VAW Water System, the water provider for the area, was aware of the issue – a frozen main water valve – but unable to repair or restore water accessibility, as the problem was not on its end, but instead the onus fell on the property owner to fix it and restore utilities to tenants. Residents believed the issue lay with the property owner and an alleged unwillingness to provide adequate living conditions, with some alleging the property owner would not allow private plumbers to come in and attempt to restore utilities. However, the property owner, Mary Katherine Gilbert, said the issue was purely a breakdown of communication between herself, maintenance personnel and tenants.  

“I never ran any plumbers off or told them to leave. When the big freeze came, it froze the main water valve and some of the trailer pipes froze, too. We have been opening the office for anyone that needs water to come get whatever they need,” said Gilbert.  

Beginning Jan. 14 and over the next several days, north Alabama was hit with freezing temperatures and precipitation; icy roadways brought the area to a standstill, and plumbing systems in some homes and businesses were adversely affected. For nearly a week, temperatures in the area stayed below freezing, hardening the ice. As soon as the problem at West Point Place was recognized, said Gilbert, plumbers were called, but there was nothing to be done except wait for the ground temperatures to rise enough to thaw the frozen main water valve.  

When Birmingham news station ABC 33/40 visited West Point Place recently, a plumber was present, residents said, but said the plumber left shortly after the news station made its departure. This led some residents to believe Gilbert was barring professionals from the property.  

“The night that ABC 33/40 was there, I was not. I was at my home,” said Gilbert. “I was on the phone with the plumber that was there that night. He looked at the water main and said it was frozen solid and there was nothing he could do. I didn’t make or ask anyone to leave. I have had our maintenance guys out there non-stop trying to fix the issues, but there was nothing to be done.”  

On Friday, Jan. 26, Gilbert shared, “All water has been restored! They are currently working on the water pressure to each home. However, water is available at the office to any residents who may still have low water pressure.”  

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