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Mandatory water system upgrade, quick deadline frustrates DRW resident

Says Agate Water Co. gave him, others just weeks to make costly change

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- When Robert Brown of Deschutes River Woods opened his mail on Wednesday morning, what he found is not what he was expecting.

“I felt bullied, to be honest," Brown told NewsChannel 21.

Brown received a letter from Agate Water Company, notifying him that he has 30 days to upgrade his water control valve system -- an upgrade he said could cost him $2,000.

"I felt like they were trying to force me to do something right this minute that they have had years to plan and talk about it,” Brown said.

In a statement to NewsChannel 21, Agate Water said the upgrades are for the Oregon Water Quality Act of 1981, and that a 30-day notice is how they have always conducted business.

"Thirty days allows customers the time to make arrangements to have one installed. with Agate Water's approval. More time can be allowed, if needed, as long as the customer is willing to stay in contact with us regarding the progress of the installation," the statement read.

Brown has lived in his house for 22 years and agrees that the upgrades are the right thing to do, but did not agree with the way Agate Water is handling the situation. In the letter, the company said if a customer does not meet the update requirements in 30 days, they could have their water shut off.

“To just send me a letter that I get that says 25 days later, 'You get this done or we are going to turn your water off' -- that’s not right,” Brown said.

Brown said he plans to get the upgrades done, but did file a complaint with the state Public Utilities Commission, voicing his frustration with the way Agate is handling the situation.

Agate Water did say it could shut off water to customers, but only as a last resort, stating, "We are committed to working closely with our customers to avoid termination of services for non-compliance."

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Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jordan here.


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