Displaced residents could return to Maryville apartment complex

Displaced residents could return to Maryville apartment complex on Friday

Posted:
Crews are still working to find the cause of a possible water contamination at the Foothills Crossing apartment complex in Blount County. Crews are still working to find the cause of a possible water contamination at the Foothills Crossing apartment complex in Blount County.

By MIKE KRAFCIK
6 News Reporter

MARYVILLE (WATE) - Residents of a Blount County apartment complex are still out of their homes due to possible water contamination.

All 36 units at Foothills Crossing apartment complex were evacuated Wednesday after concerns with the water system.

On Thursday, the water was restored and tested by officials. Crews also worked on the apartment's sewer lines, which officials feared would contaminate the city's water supply.  

Officials cut off the water Wednesday, and made the apartment complex's owner install a back flow preventer.

After these measures were implemented, The Maryville Public Utility department found no signs of cross-contamination. 

"The integrity of our water system is intact, and the measures we've taken has been to ensure that's the case," said Baron Swafford, Maryville Public Utility director.

Of the 36 displaced residents, five took shelter at a nearby Red Cross. Phillip Dawson is one of them, hoping to get back home soon. The Red Cross is still assisting residents with alternate housing in the meantime.

"You get an hour notice and move out of your house, it's pretty hard to deal with it, especially when you have nowhere to go," said Dawson.

Bill Irwin has owned the apartment complex since 1989.

Irwin could be seen at the apartment complex, overseeing some of the work.  Irwin was responsible for taking care of the wastewater threat, and  hired a contractor to do the work.  

Irwin declined our request to talk on-camera.  

This isn't the first report of problems at his complex, officials reported several complaints over the years.  

On May 27, 2003, a tenant complained of unsanitary and unsafe conditions, such as problems with roaches, HVAC, water and electric systems.

In May 2011, residents contacted 6 News complaining about bugs, rats, and mold, among other things.

On January 23, 2012, the health department was called about sewage in the apartments. In addition, there were complaints of mold in five different apartments.  

Even though Phillip Dawson has only lived at Foothills Crossing for a month, he was made well aware of the impending sewage problems.  

"I heard that has been long-time overdue you know, people complaining to him, he's just neglected to do anything about it," Dawson said.

The water department says the results of the drinking water could come back Friday.

If the water is deemed safe enough for drinking, and if the sewer line is fully reported, residents could be allowed to move back as early as Friday.

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