Erin Smith Staff writer
June 17, 2014
ELIZABETHTOWN — Residents of the town of Elizabethtown are being urged to voluntarily conserve water while work is being done on a local well.
Town Manager Eddie Madden said on Tuesday that the Phase I water restrictions remain in place as the town works to replace Well No. 3 located on Smith Circle behind Pait’s Apartments.
“Well No. 3 has been producing less and less in prior months. We knew we were going to eventually have to replace it. Last fall, it stopped producing altogether and we had to take it offline,” said Madden.
He said installing a new well is an expensive undertaking for the town.
“We immediately started looking for possible grant sources to help lower the costs,” said Madden.
The N.C. Department of Commerce was going through changes and restructuring, so the grant process was temporarily closed, said Madden.
“When it finally opened for applications, we submitted an application for the replacement of Well No. 3,” said Madden.
But the town was not selected to receive a grant and the town board opted to move forward with the replacement of the well at its own expense due to the critical nature of the well, said Madden.
“The new well is installed adjacent to the old well,” said Madden.
He explained that, having the new well adjacent to the old one reduced costs as the infrastructure such as pipes and other needed equipment is already in place. The cost for the replacement well “was just under $200,000” said Madden.
“The only thing we are waiting on at this point is approval from N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Public Water Supply to bring the well online,” said Madden.
He added the electrical application for the well was submitted on Friday, June 13, and the town staff has contacted Rep. William Brisson and Sen. Bill Rabon to contact NCDENR to stress the importance of addressing the application as quickly as possible.
Madden said the Phase I Conservation measures were put into place to ease the strain on the water supply.
The Phase I Water restrictions are voluntary. The uses that are affected by the Phase I measures are: “operation of water fountains, ornamental pools and recreational swimming pools that serve fewer than 25 persons, non-commercial washing of motor vehicles, sidewalks, houses, etc. and non-commercial watering of gardens, lawns, parks, playing fields and other recreational areas.” Violations of these measures will result in a first offense fine of $25 and a $25 fine for each offense afterwards.
Madden said there is no thought of going to the Phase II conservation measures at this time.
“If circumstances change, we may have to (move to Phase II Conservation Measures),” said Madden.
He said that town is currently selling about 400,000 gallons of water per day to the county and the town sold about 13 million gallons of water to the county last year.
To complicate things, the county currently has two wells that are down and the county has also implemented conservation measures, said Madden.
“We learned this week the county is also having problems with the well at Tobermory,” said Madden. “Our problem will be mitigated and reduced when we get Well No. 3 back online.”
Madden added the town has one other well, Well No. 1, that is need of replacement next year. He added that once Well No. 1 is replaced, the town should be in good shape with its water supply.