LUMBERTON — City Manager Wayne Horne said today that about 90 percent of the power in Lumberton has been restored, but local residents are facing an even more urgent problem — no access to water for which there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix.
Horne said all but one major electrical circuit for Lumberton has been repaired, and that power is available to about 9,000 of the city’s 10,000 customers, although it isn’t on in some places, including West Lumberton and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, because of localized flooding.
Horne said city officials traveled by boat today to access damage to the water plant and what equipment would need to be purchased, such as motors, pumps and controllers.
“Right now we don’t know,” Horne said. “We are trying to figure out what kind of pumps and other equipment we will need when the water recedes.”
Horne, anticipating the next question, said, “I don’t have a time. When we have an idea on when there will be water, we will tell the public.”
The water plant, which was built in 1992, is located at 1451 Lowery St. and has a capacity of handling 16 million gallons a day, and processes an average of 4 million to 6 million gallons a day.
Meanwhile, there are ongoing efforts to distribute water to local residents. Horne said city officials are talking with FEMA and state officials about bringing in water to distribute in the community. There is some information on The Robesonian’s Facebook page about water distribution.
The county also had water problems for a while, but Kellie Blue, a spokesman for the county in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, said today that 90 percent of county customers now have water. County residents are being advised to boil their water.
Some parts of Robeson County received as many as 18 inches of rain on Saturday when Hurricane Matthew hit, forcing the Lumber River to record flooding. The river is expected to stay past flood stage until at least Sunday.