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Residents' wait for hot water in second week

About 160 residents at Baypoint Village have shivered through cold showers for more than a week. Residents Clemens Walters, 85, and Roselyn Jones, 82, have washed themselves after filling their sinks with boiled water for sponge baths.

"How primitive is that?" Jones said. "The water is ice cold."

Early Tuesday, Walters and Jones were among the retirement community's residents wondering when management would get their hot water working. When asked by the St. Petersburg Times, director Jennifer Astuto said help was on the way.

"We're doing everything humanly possible to get it up and running," Astuto said. "It's not like something that we're handling lightly."

The community's water heating system started faltering July 9. Since then, Astuto said, she has called three different plumbers to figure out the problem.

The lack of hot water was obvious to residents, but the reason for the delay in repairs was not. They finally received notification about the faulty system Monday, a week after the situation began.

A memo asked residents to be patient while maintenance tackled the problem, and it informed them that a bathroom on the first floor had been set up for the 160 residents to take a shower.

Though Baypoint Village houses people with assisted-living needs, most of the residents without hot water live independently. Only about five people in assisted living had been affected, Astuto said.

On Tuesday, Astuto said her maintenance workers had turned up the thermostats for several hours each morning and evening during the past week to provide residents with warmer water.

But Walters said his water had been cold all day, every day.

"I get up at six in the morning, and no hot water," said the 85-year-old man.

A spokesman for Bayonet Plumbing in Hudson, who would not give his name, said his company ordered new gas valves for Baypoint Village late Monday afternoon. They were supposed to arrive from Atlanta by 10 a.m. today.

He said the company would have the problem fixed by today "without a doubt."

That's the news Walters and Jones got when they met with Astuto on Tuesday afternoon to voice their concerns. Afterward, both sides were satisfied. Astuto said she would send another memo to update residents on the plumbing struggles, which included replacing the thermostats only to find they weren't the problem.

She said residents would not be compensated for their time without hot water because management had set up the hot shower for their use since Friday and had turned on hot water in individual apartments daily during a few designated times.

Walters said he had been guaranteed a hot shower in his own apartment by noon today.

"I feel much better," he said.

_ Colleen Jenkins can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6232 or (800)333-7505, ext.6232.