Community Plumbing Program Alerts Resident to Gas Peril

Southface Institute’s CCPRP plumber discovers leak while providing free repairs

For Immediate Release

ATLANTA, GA – May 24, 2019 – On May 15, 2019, plumber Ramel Herring and a partner, both from Legwork Plumbing Solutions, visited Atlanta resident Paulette Harris to deliver free plumbing repairs as part of Southface Institute’s Care & Conserve Plumbing Repair Program (CCPRP) funded by the City of Atlanta, Department of Watershed Management. While at the home of Harris, the plumbers discovered an undetected gas leak that put the homeowner and her grandchildren in a potentially deadly situation. Harris had been concerned about her home’s water pressure and leaks in the basement and had been referred to CCPRP by the office of her District 12 council member, Joyce Sheperd. Southface then assigned her case to their plumbing partner Legwork.

Suspicious headaches

 During the visit, Herring developed a headache, which the homeowner had also been suffering from and mentioned earlier to Legwork owner Rachael Grier. As the plumbers made various repairs to Harris’s basement plumbing, Herring also noticed the smell of gas. It was faint the first time they entered the basement, but when they left for more supplies and returned, the smell was stronger. He mentioned his headache to Grier and noted the gas smell on the project report once their work was complete.

That night, Grier could not sleep, as she worried about a connection between the homeowner’s health problems, Herring’s headache and a potential gas leak in the older woman’s home. The fact that Harris’s grandchildren also spend time at the house made the issue all the more urgent.

The power of doing the right thing

 “Even if someone else would have said, ‘This is not my problem,’ I try to pay attention to the small details, and my guys know what I expect. I decided to report the leak anyway,” Grier said. It was already around 10 p.m. when she contacted Georgia Natural Gas (GNG), but they said they could be at the house within 30 minutes if Harris gave them a call, warning that she and her family would probably need to evacuate the house while they turned off the gas and made repairs. Grier contacted Harris, who then agreed to call GNG. In the meantime, Grier called her team to return to the site so Harris would not be alone when the gas company arrived.

GNG soon detected two leaks: one behind the old gas-powered clothes dryer and the other related to a furnace issue. They confirmed that Harris had been exposed to both gas fumes and carbon monoxide. Understanding the homeowner’s situation, GNG made the repair immediately.

A program to help delivers in spades

For Harris, the series of events that spared her home and family was nothing short of miraculous: “It could have went another way, and thank God that it didn’t,” she said. “It wasn’t my time to go. He put the right people in the right place at the right time for me.”

Being able to deliver much more than the expected plumbing repairs was meaningful for Herring too: "Moments like these remind you of how important your trade really is. The plumbing field is not just about protecting the water supply. You are protecting families," he said.

“This could have been a life or death situation,” said Grier. Though the extra time spent with the client was beyond what

Legwork would be compensated for, the feeling of accomplishment was priceless for Grier: “The intrinsic reward of knowing what we’ve done has more than compensated for the money. Seeing the quality of life improve for the people we’re helping through CCPRP is like a new passion project for me.”

Gwen Smith, Project Coordinator for Southface’s Care & Conserve Plumbing Repair Program is appreciative to have such committed CCPRP providers: “We’re thankful to work with Legwork Plumbing. They care about their customers and always go above and beyond what’s asked of them, even taking on extra financial costs at their own loss to make sure that customers are in a healthy and safe environment.”

The Care & Conserve Plumbing Repair Program

 Southface’s Care & Conserve Plumbing Repair Program (CCPRP) provides plumbing and sewer repair to residents in a City of Atlanta Council District. This program has been established to assist low- to moderate-income homeowners with plumbing and sewer repairs.

CCPRP will provide up to $1,500 for households with non-sewer line repair/replacement work and up to $2,500 for households with sewer line repair/replacement. Please visit https://www.southface.org/ccprp/ to donate to the program and https://www.southface.org/programs/ccprp/ to apply for services.

For more information, please contact Emily Proctor, Senior Communications Manager, Southface Institute at eproctor@southface.org

Media Inquiries

For more information about Southface or to arrange an interview with our President Andrea Pinabell, members of the media should contact: communications@southface.org.

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