This story was updated Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, at 10 p.m. with more information.
No utility is able to guarantee uninterrupted service. When events such as these occur, we do not provide for billing adjustments or claims for customer reimbursement of expenses.
Tennessee American Water Company will not make any adjustments to water bills or accept claims for reimbursements from customers following the company's largest water outage in "recent history," which left 35,000 connections without water for as long as three days last week.
According to Tennessee American representatives, the company was performing preventative maintenance on a nearby pipe when a 36-inch water main servicing much of downtown and northern Chattanooga sprang a leak, causing a massive water outage late last week.
Now, as details slowly surface, the company announced in a release late Thursday it will not provide any bill adjustments to affected customers.
"We regret the recent fluctuation and partial interruption of water service. We devoted our full resources to completing the repair and providing water to as many customers as possible," the release reads. "No utility is able to guarantee uninterrupted service. When events such as these occur, we do not provide for billing adjustments or claims for customer reimbursement of expenses."
Tennessee American Water main break FAQView
In the same release, the company touted its emphasis on transparency, despite slow rolling information since the leak began.
"It is important to Tennessee American Water to be transparent with our customers about the circumstances surrounding the main break last week," Tennessee American Water President Darlene Williams said. "We are committed to sharing information with the community after we complete our evaluation. We thank you for your patience and understanding throughout this process."
The release is a list of answers to "frequently asked questions," providing details similar to those shared with the Times Free Press on Wednesday after the company declined to answer the same questions Tuesday.
Tennessee American has still not provided details on what caused the leak, adding only that "valve work was being performed, workers noticed a large amount of water beginning to surface from a meter vault that was located near but was not part of the planned project. We have not identified the cause of the main break and concluding this evaluation is a priority."
The company is also yet to provide actual details on what work will be done to prevent future issues, referencing only past maintenance and the work being done at the time of the leak.
Questions from current and former local government officials about interconnection with other local utility providers and questions about a class-action lawsuit filed against the company remain unanswered.
Neither Tennessee American, the city of Chattanooga or Hamilton County have provided estimated costs of the incident.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @sarahgtaylor.