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City reaches agreement to have water turned back on at 2 Indy apartment complexes

Service was restored late Friday evening.

INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis reached an agreement Friday afternoon with Citizens Energy Group to restore water service to tenants at two south side apartment complexes.

The water was back on Friday night at at Berkley Commons and Capital Place Apartments.  

Citizens had disconnected service Thursday because apartment management hadn't paid the bills.

Utility crews reconnected service after the city stepped in to make it happen, but not before residents described a terrible 24 hours without water. 

At both complexes, many people were in tears, out of anger and frustration that they had no running water. 

“I’ve been here for seven years and never had to do this,” cried Mary Smith who lives at Berkley Commons. “I got a first grader and can’t even give him a bath, can’t cook, can’t wash our dishes.”

RELATED: Citizens Energy Group shuts off water at 2 Indianapolis apartment complexes

“In the morning you wake up, you want to use the bathroom, you can’t flush,” said Adavo Harrie, who said she has three kids to take care of and didn’t have water to give them baths. 

“We’re using drinking water to wash our hands after using the toilet, so it’s very disturbing,” added Tysharae Mitchell, a Berkley Commons tenant who has a child who uses a feeding tube. 

Mitchell had spent her own money to buy water to keep her hands sterile so she could take care of her child. 

“It’s very nerve-wracking and to top it off, I have two other kiddos. The toilets are clogged because we can’t flush them,” she added. 

A statement from Citizens Energy Thursday explained they had shut off the water because Aloft Management, who runs both complexes, had a large outstanding water bill that Citizens said they had failed to pay. 

Residents at both complexes said paying for water is part of their monthly rent. 

“I want to know what happened to our money now. We’re wanting refunds,” said Brenda Jones who lives at Capital Place. 

Jones boiled water Thursday and Friday so she and her 6-year-old son could take baths. She’s not upset with Citizens for turning off the water.   

“It’s not their fault, it’s our apartment’s fault. At the end of the day, they want their money just like everybody else. I’m not mad at Citizens, they had a job to do, and they did their job,” said Jones. 

That left others in the community with a different kind of job to do: providing support to residents at both complexes.   

“We’ve got all kinds of frozen goods that are microwaveable. We’ve got things that don’t need preparation,” said Byron Daugherty with Resurrection Lutheran Church. The church, with help from Second Helpings, delivered food and water to Capital Place. 

Residents said they weren’t sure who provided the port-a-potties that showed up at Berkley Commons Friday, not that anyone was lining up to use one. 

“Imagine all of us going to potty in there," said Harrie. "I cannot."

Jones said she can't stay at Capital Place much longer. She’s moving soon, worried that this could happen again. 

“If it was me by myself, I could survive. But I have him to worry about. It’s not only me at this point,” Jones said, pointing to her little boy. 

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett released a statement about the city's decision:

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement to restore service to tenants. By working with the Marion County Public Health Department, partners, and the community we will ensure residents have access to basic services and stable housing moving forward. The City of Indianapolis plans to use every resource at our disposal to hold the property owner of these complexes responsible for putting tenants in these harmful and dangerous conditions.”

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