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What started as a simple phone call to MLGW has turned into a half-year struggle to fix a leak for one Midtown neighborhood

“Couple weeks later they wrote LOCATE, spray painted LOCATE on the street, and then nothing for months and months and months,” said Kelly.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — What started as a simple call for neighborhood improvement eventually turned into a 6-month long struggle.

“I kept calling different MLGW numbers, and they’re like, this isn’t the right number,” said Joseph Kelly, Midtown Resident.

Kelly noticed a leak near the intersection of Garland and Poplar during his daily commute.

“Water pouring down all the way to Poplar,” said Kelly, “I tried different numbers until I finally got someone who was willing to help out.”

Eventually he was told some workers were checking the area downstream.  In an email, MLGW told ABC24: 

“MLGW crews work service orders according to priority and capacity. Please note, a water leak may show up at one location, but begin somewhere else. Customers may not always see the MLGW employee(s) working on an issue.”

Kelly called for an update in September, but was told to leave it to MLGW.

“Couple weeks later they wrote LOCATE, spray painted LOCATE on the street, and then nothing for months and months and months,” said Kelly.

When the December arctic blast hit, Kelly was hopeful there might be a chance the leak would be repaired since MLGW was repairing pipes across the city and he had previously called in the issue.

“When I came back in I was anxious to see if they had repaired it, and they had not repaired it,” said Kelly.

It was not until Kelly tweeted at MLGW directly January 4th, that something appeared to be done.

“Whoever was running their twitter handle was responsive and followed up and as a result they came out and fixed the leak,” said Kelly.

However, in the place of a leak, a hole is now occupying close to half the road, leading itself to traffic troubles.

“If there’s a car parked here, it basically becomes impassable because there’s just not enough room between that hole and any parked cars,” said Kelly.

MLGW has said on Twitter that it is looking to get a metal plate placed over the hole, however a timeline of when that happens or when the hole will be filled remains unclear.

On Twitter the utility company said:

"Every year, area asphalt production plants close down for the winter’s cold weather for as long as 90 days.  MLGW will continue to survey locations until repairs are made and asphalt paving resumes in the Spring. Issues or concerns? Contact us at 901-544-6549."

In the future, Kelly hopes MLGW will develop an easier way to report issues and keep track of progress when issues like the leak occurs.

“Something that would allow us to know that MLGW is aware that they have an issue on their radar and that we can see where it is in the process.  We have that kind of with the outage map, but for something like a water leak, there’s just no other way than to call,” said Kelly.

ABC24 was also able to catch up with MLGW President and CEO Doug McGowen following an appearance at a Shelby County Commission meeting, where he said the company was working on hiring more customer service representatives.

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