SoCal residents shared similar water woes as Northeast Fresno

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Santa Clarita residents got a settlement of more than $40 million against a Korean pipe manufacturer, but it may be too late for some Fresno residents due to a statute of limitations. (KFSN)

Some residents have already paid to have their plumbing re-done. While others are waiting for the city to figure out what's wrong.

So far, residents of a few hundred Fresno homes have expressed concerns about rust colored water to the city.

A similar problem afflicted 5,000 homes in Santa Clarita and resulted in a lot of work for southern California plumbers.

"We'd come up, just the kids would say can I have something to drink and you'd go to pour and instead of being nice and clear it was brown," Dorothy Belli of Santa Clarita said. "It was horrible."

The 2,151 residents of the neighborhood in Santa Clarita say they can relate to the water problems in northeast Fresno.

Just 20 years ago, they started having rusty, discolored water coming out of their faucets and discovered they had corroded and leaking pipes.

Nobody listened to their complaints until they went to court.

"It was an extreme hassle," resident John Hunsinger said. "We had to initiate a class action lawsuit against the developer in order to recover our costs of repairing and replacing the pipe, it wasn't something we wished to go through and hopefully won't go through again."

The finally got a settlement of more than $40 million against a Korean pipe manufacturer, developers and contractors who built their neighborhood.

"Yeah, real pain you expect, especially from the builder who has a reputation out here you would expect to get something top quality," resident Mark Link said.

The money from that settlement went to replace the plumbing in 5,000 homes but it may be too late for that kind of action in Fresno.

"You are time barred because of the fact the lawsuit was not filed within 10 years of the time the house was completed," attorney Russell Cook said.

Cook handles construction cases in Fresno.

He says the statute of limitations on building defects is 10 years whether the homeowner was aware of the problem or not.

Most of the homes affected in Fresno were built in the late 80's and early 90's. The rusty water problems started in 2004 with the opening of the city's surface water treatment plant.

"That would be their argument that the PH of the water caused the pipe to rust and fail. But that still is governed by the 10-year statute of limitations," he explained.

The city has blamed Korean pipe manufacturer DongBu, the same company that had defective pipes in Santa Clarita.

But some affected Fresno residents think the city may have failed to properly treat it's water, causing the corrosion.

The city is investigating and has not accepted responsibility.

Related Topics:
contaminated waterfresnoFresno - NortheastSanta Clarita
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