- Published on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 10:05
- Written by Super User
By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
CAROLINA BEACH - The Town of Carolina Beach issued a boil water notice on Monday February 11, resulting from low water pressure throughout the Town's water system over the weekend.
Many residents are concerned because they were not aware of the notice and Town officials did not contact Carolina Beach Elementary School. School officials brought in water coolers and bottled water after hearing the notice in local media.
The notice stated, "Today, the Town of Carolina Beach’s primary water treatment facility experienced a temporary loss of water pressure. This interruption resulted in a temporary lack of water pressure throughout the Town’s water distribution system. Periods of low or no pressure in the distribution system increases the potential for back siphonage and introduction of bacteria into the water system. The issue has been corrected and the treatment facility is now operating normally."
It stated, "Therefore, The Town of Carolina Beach and the NC DENR Public Water Supply Section advise that when water is restored consumers Boil All Water used for human consumption ( including drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, making ice and washing hands ) Or Use Bottled Water. Vigorous boiling for a minute or two is sufficient. Customers will be notified when testing is completed and service is returned to normal."
On Tuesday the Town issued a notice rescinding the boil notice. That notice stated, "Bacteriological analysis results of drinking water samples collected recently from this water system show no coliform bacteria present. The system has resumed normal operations."
Responding to a post on the Island Gazette Facebook page, local resident Bri Cox stated, "Yes thank you for letting us know it is safe now. Last time they did this, they never let us know when it was okay to drink. I bought bottled water for a week and a half before I found out."
Mayor Bob Lewis commented on his Facebook page on Tuesday about the notice.
He explained, "I am in total agreement with your concern for the water supplied by our Carolina Beach Utility. The problem is not an easy one to fix as former councils and town management have tried the band aid type approach which is not going to fix the problem. Former town Mayor, Joel Macon started the town in the right direction as it concerns to looking at a Reverse Osmosis plant to provide for future water supply needs instead of connecting to Cape Fear water and having them control our future water supply destiny."
He explained, "The issues have been outlined for council since I took office but it has only been since our current members Steve and Sarah have joined me along with Lonnie Lashley that we demanded a water system audit and strategic plan to get us to clean water. The challenge is salt water intrusion in our system and that will always be an issue. We are implementing the beginning of a strategic plan which will get us to a good water system within a couple years, but we need the support of the residents and business owners to get to a good clean water system throughout our town. We are first installing electronic meters [for] every water customer which will be a self funded investment and not cost the property or business owner anything but which will make our billing more accurate and will open an opportunity for our current town water staff to focus on the real water issues and not just spend time reading meters."
Lewis explained, "Second we are looking at replacing all the current galvanized pipe in the system to eliminate the issues with pressure, breaks, intrusions and iron deposits in the pipe accumulated over 50 years or more. Third we need to replace the old ground water storage tank which at anytime could burst leaving us with a void in the system. Next we need to rebuild a centralized treatment area for all of our water and the last thing we need to do is build a Reverse Osmosis salt water to clean water facility to provide a water reserve for the peak months of use."
He explained, "All of this will take a huge financial investment but today we can borrow money over time at the lowest rates ever and if we wait just a couple years to implement this plan we could be looking at a 30-40% increase in annual costs. The current council is determined to implement a strategic water improvement plan that will work and sustain our future clean water supply for all our residents and business owners. This clearly is not an easy challenge but one we can accomplish."
The boil water notice was issued due to an issue with chlorinating the water and is required by state law in such situations.
Lewis explained, "The chlorination is working properly. A storage tank switch did not work properly and we ended up getting low pressure which could (key word could) cause contamination in rare cases that is why the alert."
Lewis explained, "If you read up on it, old galvanized water pipes can also close up due to rust and they become a filter for chlorine and produce low areas of chlorination. Our system was constructed as a number of multiple systems so each is treated differently and we do not have a centralized chlorination facility which I have read is a big problem. We are using chlorine booster stations to push chlorine into parts of the water system which are not looped together and residents at the end of the lines are either under or over chlorinated at times. It all ties together that is why we can not make an impact on the system without a complete system upgrade and replacement in some cases."
Local resident Jackie Nagy commented to Lewis on Facebook writing, "We're neighbors Mayor Lewis, and let me tell you I'm really ticked off. I was drinking this crap yesterday and this morning till I read on FACEBOOK of all places about this issue. This really stinks and if people get sick they will start to think of suing the town. Annoyed I am!!!!"
Local resident David Transou explained, "Which do we need more? Swimming pools, pier properties, or good, clean water?"
One complaint from Tori Holt on Tuesday summed it up, "I just wonder why the residents have not been more well informed. I had to tell my in-laws about it this morning so they were drinking the possibly contaminated water all day yesterday."
Holt explained, "I thank Island Gazette for the info, but not everyone uses social media."
Local resident Billie Bridges commented, "This is not the first time. Just a few months back, same thing. All the money CB makes, where is our safe water? Get with it CB. No excuse in my book when there is so much profit being published every year."
The last such notice was issued on September 11, 2012 following a water line break at around 10PM the previous night. Crews working to replace lines along Dow Road. A busted 12-inch water-main at the intersection of Dow and Tarboro just south of Harper Avenue was the cause. Fire hydrants were opened to relieve pressure while the contractor made repairs.
Other cities have automated alert systems. The City of Annapolis Maryland has a system called Code Red. You have to supply a phone number or you can opt for email or text messages.
The City of Columbia Missouri has a similar system and targets notices based on the affected areas.