A series of problems led to several water outages in Whiteville through the weekend.
City Manager Darren Currie said the problems originated in a valve in the north water tank.
The tank had been drained for cleaning and repairs, he said, and when it was refilled, a valve was found to be leaking. The cleaning crew replaced the valve, Currie said, but neglected to turn the valve back on.
Since there are more wells on the northern end of the city, Currie said, the water pressure couldn’t be quickly equalized. Water is supposed to flow to the southernmost pipes and tower when a surplus is pumped to the north, and vice versa.
“The pipes to the south simply couldn’t take it,” Currie said.
City crews opened fire hydrants to blow air and particulates out of the system, but even that wasn’t enough to prevent several breaks in the lines. Currie said it appeared that someone had shut off some of the hydrants as well, leading to air buildup in the lines.
“One thing led to another,” Currie said.
All the repairs were made by Tuesday, Currie said, and both tanks are now cleaned, sanitized, inspected and back online. He noted that the most efficient way to force air bubbles out of the city’s water system is to allow hydrants to run.
“We know we will have to lose a certain amount of water when we’re doing maintenance, or when the lines need to be blown out,” he said. “That’s built in. It doesn’t cost the customer anything when a hydrant is running in their front yard.”
Currie said that if someone is concerned about a running hydrant, “they can just give us a call.”