LUMBERTON — City residents now have an answer to their question on when they will have fresh water — and they won’t like it.
City Councilman Burnis Wilkins used Facebook to break the bad news, that the wait could be up to a month.
“With regret I am informing you that we have been advised due to massive flooding of our water plant in West Lumberton, we will not have a city water supply for at least two weeks, maybe up to four weeks,” he said. “We are working on getting tankers and other ways to get water supplies and showers in here from FEMA. Efforts have already been set in place to pump water from the plant side of the dike into the river side as it recedes. FEMA is providing massive pumps to accomplish this effort, which will take about a week to complete. Then our personnel will have to assess our situation in the plant as we know all electrical is fried. Then there are a host of things that have to happen to get water up and running for human use.”
City Manager Wayne Horne on Wednesday said a team traveled by boat that day to access damage to the water plant and what equipment would need to be purchased, such as motors, pumps and controllers. He was vague on when water might be restored, but struck a pessimistic tone.
“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.”
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.
” … I encourage all Lumberton residents to utilize all community offerings of bottled water as this will be an ongoing event,” Wilkins wrote. “I also urge you to link up with friends and family that live in the county or close by … as we have to work together to work throught this. Hopefully friends and family will let you utilize their homes for showers.
“I could go on and on about this and it saddens me to have to share this information but there is no reason to delay this info as it gives you time to start looking for alternative resources.”
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, said Wednesday that 90 percent of county customers now have water. County residents are being advised to boil their water. County Manager Ricky Harris said that water is being tested to see when the boil-water advisory could be lifted.
Residents in most of the municipalities also have access to water.