Special Thanks to State and Chicago Inspector offering free water service to needy.

Elderly Woman In Austin Neighborhood Getting City Water Service From A Garden Hose

CHICAGO (CBS) — She’s an 89-year-old Austin woman, and right now she’s getting her water out of a garden hose.

A group of plumbing experts is volunteering to fix the issue, but they say they need some help from the city, CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reports.

Janie Peters has been living in her Austin home for half a century.

And for years, she says she has had low water pressure—or no pressure at all.

“I just got through washing my hair in bottled water this morning,” Peters said.

“It’s plain old torture. That’s what it is, plain old torture.”

Peters said city workers said they couldn’t put their finger on the problem. Then when her next-door neighbor moved out this fall, she lost her water service altogether.

The issue was pretty clear to this group of plumbers.

“Somebody dropped the ball,’’ said Frank Coconate, a former Department of Water management inspector. “This should not be happening.”

The plumbers say they the house next door doesn’t have a water meter and their line is inexplicably tied to Peters’ meter.

And the current solution: a long water hose running to her home that isn’t either safe or sanitary. The city created the setup as a temporary solution until they can come up with a licensed plumber to create a permanent fix for Peters’ water supply.

“There shouldn’t be a connection this long running across here. It’s running to a water hose,” said union plumber Arvid Peck. “Who drinks out of a water hose?”

So this group of current and former Department of Water Management workers is  stepping in and asking the city for a special permit to complete the installation of a new water service as soon as possible.

“For her not to have water to cook and drink and go to the bathroom these are huge problems,” said Coconate.

However, they have hit some roadblocks this holiday season. Notably, they haven’t heard back from the city’s permit department.

In the meantime, the plumbers are stocking up Peters’ home with bottled water.

Peters is being patient and says she has been touched by all the love.

“Thank God there’s people like you all,” she said.

It’s still unclear exactly how this water line became tied to the house next door.

CBS 2 reached out to the mayor’s office, the water department and the city’s metropolitan planning organization.

The water department says they’re working with alderman’s office to get a permanent solution.

As for the group of volunteers, no word yet from the city’s permit department.

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