Anger over water advisory boils over

Water main break has people confused, angry and worried
Feb. 21, 2014 @ 08:36 AM

Sasha Peyton was not aware a high-pressure water main had ruptured until the following morning, after repairs had been made, when she read about the water advisory on Facebook.

"Nobody called me or anything," said Peyton, who uses water in the formula she feeds her 2-month-old daughter. "Someone should have let us know that night."

Her house on Baton School Road lost water service because of the rupture, and she has been boiling the water she needs for drinking and for formula formula bottles since learning of the advisory.

About 20,000 water customers in Caldwell County temporarily lost water service Tuesday around 8 or 8:30 p.m. when the water main at Connelly Springs Road and Andrews Circle broke. The boil-water advisory wasn't issued until nearly 12 hours after the rupture, and almost two hours after a Caldwell County press release quoted a Lenoir city official as saying that the water would be safe once service was restored. On Thursday, Lenoir announced it was lifting the advisory for its customers, and two hours later the county said others should keep boiling water as a precaution because some test results weren't back.

Tonya Collier, who lives on Robbins Drive within 50 yards of the water main break, said she first got word of the boil-water advisory in a CodeRED automated call just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"What concerns me is the time between the water break and the (water advisory)," Collier said. "I could have been drinking contaminated water. I'm not sick. Yet."

Wanda Perkins, who lives off Calico Road in Gamewell, said that her water pressure dropped drastically Tuesday night, and what little water that was coming through was cloudy and murky. But she didn't hear about the advisory until the noon TV news on Wednesday.

"It just so happened I had the TV on," she said. "Somebody should have told us sooner if you really need to boil the water, not the next day."

Tiffany Williams, who lives on Pleasant Hill Road in Hudson, said she got a CodeRED call from Caldwell County Schools about the water main break and a three-hour delay for schools, but didn't learn about the boil-water advisory until Thursday morning, when a friend on Facebook told her.

"I was shocked, because I drank the water (Wednesday) night," Williams said. "It would have been nice to know (Wednesday) morning."

Angela McNeely, who lives just inside the Sawmills town limits on Braudus Lane, knew her water pressure had dropped but didn't know about the advisory until Thursday morning.

"We didn't know about it, nobody called us," McNeely said. "They (Town of Sawmills) should have gotten in touch with us. We should have been told when our water pressure went down."

Sawmills Town Administrator Seth Eckard said the town posted the water advisory on its Facebook page and lifted the advisory for its customers soon after water service was restored Wednesday morning. Since then, the town office fielded about 300 phone calls inquiring about the town's water service.