Support grows for struggling Melrose Water Supply Corp.

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - For years, the Melrose Water Supply Corporation has faced all sorts of issues from mis-management to state violations. Complaints still surface, but it's not so difficult finding support for the rural water supply operation.

Melrose water supply corporation crews routinely flush water lines.

Today the chore is necessary following a water line break this week on a line over 50 years old. Manager Payton Andrews, the manager of Melrose Water Supply, knows why it happened.

"It's all corroded up, and it's so dry that it's just falling to pieces and it gives way to where the water line just pops up," Andrews said.

The breaks lead to boil water notices and complaints.

"This company does not provide a safe, clean water supply, and the norm is low pressure, and dirty water," one disgusted customer wrote.

On the other hand, there's this kind of feedback.

"We understand as with any public utility company, emergencies arise. Melrose water has been diligent in addressing issues in a proactive and responsive manner to make sure the community's needs are met," said Chireno Mayor Susan Higginbotham in an e-mail.

It's along the same lines of what the Chireno School Superintendent had to say.

"Since they put new line on Highway 21 we have had much more consistent water flow and service to the school district," said Roger Dees, the superintendent of Chireno ISD.

Students are sent home less frequently due to water line breaks. Scheduled shutdowns are preceded by bottled water.

As far as serving other customers, Melrose directors say engineers are working on it.

"They have done hydraulic study about getting volume to the lower part of our water system, which contains Chireno and 95 South," said Jay Smith, the director of the Melrose Water Supply Corporation Board.

And state regulators are pleased with the progress.

"We got a real good relationship with TCEQ right now," Smith said. "We had a few little hiccups this last inspection, but they were taken care of within a week and we're sitting good. They know we're trying to improve."

Smith calls it a never-ending battle. Repairs and breaks will continue, but with improvements hopefully less frequently.

The Melrose Water Supply Corporation is also waiting to hear from engineers where a new well should be dug. The added water capacity will allow better service and pressure to customers.

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