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Friday, May 24, 2024

Leland manager, mayor apologize for ‘unacceptable’ water outage, low pressure

From the river to your faucet, the cost of water rises with every step along the way (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy SEPI Engineering)
Utility work on Leland’s water main to prepare for an incoming booster pump caused hours of low pressure and outages for the town’s customers Wednesday. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy SEPI Engineering)

LELAND — Leland’s Town Manager and Mayor apologized after an hours-long water mistake Wednesday.

The Town’s Public Service staff were performing work on the town’s water main to prepare for a booster pump, which is scheduled to arrive in November.

Related: Leland says booster pump will address pressure issues. Stories vary on why it wasn’t built originally

Leland first alerted its water customers — which include Brunswick Forest and a portion of Mallory Creek — of scheduled water maintenance Tuesday evening, before 5 p.m. Work would begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday and last through 9 a.m. Thursday, according to the initial town memo. The memo asked residents to conserve water during this time frame.

Unforeseen demand

Last week, the town ran a test to prepare for the work by isolating the water system from Brunswick County’s meter. This was done to determine about how long the town’s water could keep up pressure sourced by just its own water tower outside of the county’s line.

Town leaders believed the system could hold for six hours, according to a town press release, with only minor changes to water pressure.

“The scenario we ran last week was done in an effort to be fully prepared and with the potential impact to our residents in mind,” Leland Town Manager David Hollis said in the town’s press release. “Something different than what happened during our preliminary testing occurred today, some demand we are not aware of that resulted in the system not being able to hold.”

Residents in Brunswick Forest and Mallory Creek reported low water pressure or complete water outages by midmorning Wednesday. Around noon Wednesday, the town issued a boil water advisory via the Brunswick Forest Masters Association, alerting residents to the potential for back siphonage caused by periods of low pressure which can allow bacteria to enter a public water system.

Town apologizes

The town discovered the pressure and outage issue about two hours after work began, according to the release. Water was restored less than three hours after it was first detected, according to the town.

“I apologize to the residents and businesses in the affected area and I take full responsibility,” Hollis said in the release.

In a separate message provided by the town, Mayor Brenda Bozeman said Wednesday’s water issue was unacceptable. “The drop off in water pressure and total outages that occurred as a result of the Town’s water main work was unacceptable, and I have already shared my dissatisfaction with Leland staff and my fellow Council members.”

The booster pump is being delivered to address already-existing water pressure issues for town residents, which were exacerbated this summer by increased demand and drought conditions.

“In a Town growing as rapidly as Leland, construction, maintenance and repairs are going to be necessary from time to time. But we strive to minimize the impact that work has on our citizens. Today, the Town failed in that effort and I am truly disappointed and sorry that Leland residents had to bear any of this burden for any length of time,” Bozeman wrote in her message.

Read Mayor Bozeman’s message and Leland’s full press release below:

Message From Mayor Bozeman_100219 by Johanna Ferebee on Scribd

Water Restored to Leland Ne… by Johanna Ferebee on Scribd

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