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2 water main breaks cut service to 350 homes

For 20 hours, Bill Peters was unable to use the toilet, take a shower, or make coffee.

Two water main breaks, one on Thursday night and one on Friday morning, forced Lindrick Service Corp. to shut off the water supply to about 350 homes, including Peters'. The outage affected the Gulf Harbors Woodlands subdivision.

Residents spent most of Thursday night and all of Friday frustrated _ and dry.

"I can get by, but, my goodness, it's really a struggle," said Peters, who is 67.

A woman who answered the phone at Lindrick's office Friday morning said the first water main break happened about 9 p.m. Thursday at Marine Parkway and Opal Lane.

A "big ol' rock" eroded the water pipe and caused the break, said the woman, who refused to give her name. Crews repaired the water main, she said, and when the water was turned on again, another break occurred nearby.

To complicate matters, Lindrick crews hit and damaged an underground power line Friday morning, which caused a short power outage for some people. The crews had to wait for Florida Power to repair the line before continuing.

Lindrick is one of the largest private utilities in Pasco, serving nearly 10,000 people in the Gulf Harbors and Shamrock Heights area. The service area is bounded roughly by Green Key Road to the north, U.S. 19 to the east, Shell Stream Boulevard to the south and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.

Arleen Arnold, the 80-year-old president of the Gulf Harbors Woodlands homeowners association, said she is recovering from knee surgery, and the water outage forced her to cancel a home health aide who assisted her with bathing.

About 5:30 p.m., the water returned to the customers' homes.

Arnold said she is frustrated with Lindrick, citing an eight-hour water outage in April.

Residents have been feuding with the private utility for years, involving several state legislators and lawsuits. Lindrick owner Joe Borda has indicated he might be willing to sell the troubled utility.

However, lawsuits between him and the city of New Port Richey, as well as with a former consultant, have sullied those efforts.

"We just wonder about the stability of the company," Arnold said.

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