Water conservation is critical as repairs begin
Bolivia, NC – Brunswick County remains under a State of Emergency and all public water customers in the County must reduce water to ensure water is available for potential fire fighting efforts and hospital and medical uses as repairs to a broken water main begin.
Crews are working night and day to keep as much water flowing to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant as possible. However, because there is a hole approximately the size of a football in the water main, a large percentage of water flowing through the main is lost before it gets to the treatment plant. Therefore, public utility customers must conserve water and decrease usage to ensure there is not a system pressure loss – which would extend to fire fighting crews and medical facilities.
Crews are now working to establish a temporary bypass, which would carry water around the break and allow water to keep flowing while crews repair the break itself.
If public water customers turn on their spigot and have a reduced flow of water, or water flow that sputters, they should begin boiling water before consumption or switch to bottled water.
Outdoor water usage, including irrigation, is prohibited for all public water customers. Customers who are still irrigating are at risk of termination of services and fines.
Additionally, customers should avoid using water during peak times – like in the mornings before work – as much as possible. Residents should take additional steps to conserve water, like taking short showers instead of baths and only running dishwashers or washing machines when they are full (instead of running partial loads).
Residents may see golf courses continuing to irrigate. Golf courses use effluent (reclaimed water) or non-potable water from retention ponds for irrigation. No golf courses in Brunswick County use potable water for irrigation. Commercial car washes can still operate at this time as well; car washes use relatively little water because they recycle the water they use, and are the livelihood for their operators and employees. Closing commercial car washes will not cause much of a decrease in water usage and will diminish their ability to earn a living. However, when we can no longer provide adequate water to our treatment plant, we will restrict their operations.
Since this water main break affects one of Brunswick County Public Utilities’ sources of water, it affects not only Brunswick County Public Utilities customers but also the customers of utility providers that purchase wholesale water from Brunswick County.
Thank you to all of the utility customers who worked to decrease water usage, and contributed to the 3 million gallon per day decrease in consumption seen to date. Thank you also to the Village of Bald Head Island, which switched entirely to an alternate water source to help relieve demand on the County’s system. The mandatory water restrictions do not apply to customers of Bald Head Island or to those who solely use wells.
Efforts to temporarily fix the pipe Tuesday night, which would allow water to keep flowing through the pipe until it could be permanently fixed, did not work. Additionally, as crews have pumped down water around the break and been able to get more information about it, they have determined that some initial plans for repairs were not possible.
Conservation efforts by residents now and in the coming days will determine whether customers see water pressure drop.
The raw water main owned by the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority that carries raw water from the Kings Bluff Raw Water Pump Station to the County-owned Northwest Water Treatment Plant and others broke Thursday, Oct. 13.
The Water Emergency Ordinance is viewable at https://www.municode.com/library/nc/brunswick_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTICOOR_CH1-13WAWASU_ARTVWAEMOR.
Those who have questions should contact 910-253-5383.