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RRHA inspection turns up more heating problems

Jeremy Lazarus | 11/1/2018, 6 a.m.
An inspection of heating equipment in the city’s 4,000 public housing units has turned up broken radiators and other problems ...

An inspection of heating equipment in the city’s 4,000 public housing units has turned up broken radiators and other problems in 250 units, according to Orlando Artze, interim executive director of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Mr. Artze, who ordered the inspection, said Tuesday that workers are preparing to make the fixes to ensure the heat works properly in those units before severe cold weather arrives.

The inspections and repairs are part of the new preventive maintenance approach Mr. Artze has put in place to enable RRHA to handle problems more quickly and prevent a repetition of the debacle last winter that led to the resignation of former RRHA executive director T.K. Somanath. Dozens of apartments were without heat when a boiler went out and radiators stopped functioning during a bitter cold snap.

Since then, RRHA repaired heating problems in more than 400 units, including 75 in Creighton Court that lost heat for weeks after a boiler went down. Repairs were completed in the final unit in mid-September, Mr. Artze said previously.

Mr. Artze said that along with inspections, RRHA also has procured a contractor who can respond quickly if one of the aging boilers in the six major housing communities or in any other RRHA property breaks down.

He said the contractor would either fix the boiler or would install electric baseboard heating in the affected apartments. He said the goal is to reduce the upheaval residents can face when the heating goes out during the coldest months.

Mr. Artze said RRHA acted during the spring and summer to prepare for winter given that it can take up to 75 days to go through the procurement process.

“Our goal is to be ready to take care of our residents,” he said.