By Robbie Owens

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In Northwest Dallas, Atmos says their crews are still on track to replace miles of aging steel pipelines. But, getting customers back into their homes is a slow and tedious process… Tuesday night, Atmos says their biggest obstacle is the customer piping.

Thus, 25 plumbers were brought on board to make those repairs. But, will all of the digging be done within just 10 days?

“I don’t see it happening for weeks,” says Jimmy Carnes with Starr Construction. Carnes is a general contractor and lives near the impacted area. He says just doing the math on the manpower needed means the company’s three week time frame is a stretch, adding that skilled plumbers are already in big demand.

“Oh, absolutely,” says Carnes. “You’ve got a very limited supply of people anyway. A lot of those people that are qualified have gone to Houston or other areas that have had the storms, so you’ve got a small pool of people to pick from.”

Repairs were completed to a few hundred homes and those residents have returned. But, many more are still waiting, and managing.

“In the morning I do have to do the cold water over me for just a couple of minutes… and then in the evenings, I just shower at the gym,” says Keegan Rae. “For cooking, I use a meal plan service.”

Rae says he just moved into the northwest Dallas neighborhood about a month ago, so he’s opting to stay put. The reimbursement from Atmos, he says, has been more than fair and helps to minimize the inconvenience. Still, he also questions whether the repairs can be completed within the next ten days.

“I don’t know. Ten days might be tough,” says Rae. “I see a lot going on and it’s all day. It’s been going on all day and night, so…”
Meanwhile, Atmos has not commented on reports from homeowners that the company is scaling back plans to install smart meters in the area undergoing repairs, citing the additional costs and accompanying project delays