Asheville water line breaks continue to affect homes, businesses; city officials apologize for communication breakdown

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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Asheville city officials on Tuesday apologized for poor communication related to two recent water line breaks and promised to improve, all while some residents and businesses continued to deal with fallout from the damaged lines.

Here’s what city officials said, and where things stand, as of Tuesday afternoon:

-A boil water advisory remains in effect for people and businesses along Lyman Street and Warren Wilson College Road. The advisory is precautionary, according to city officials, who say that regular daily testing has show no contamination of the water system. There are no other boil water advisories in place.

-On Monday, a 24-inch water line broke in the River Arts District after a scheduled water line construction project was completed in the area on Sunday. That break affected schools, which delayed their openings, as well as businesses (some restaurants and breweries closed) and homeowners. “We understand we did not provide detailed enough information to help people know what to do” regarding that break, assistant city manager Cathy Ball said on Tuesday.

-On March 26-27, water line repair work at North Fork Dam allowed sediment to get into the water system, according to Ball. That issue remains systemwide, but should be resolved by Friday, she said. The supply line that ruptured was a high-velocity line, according to a city press release, and the rush of water through an alternate supply line the water was diverted to during the repair stirred up sediment in pipes.

-The only way to clear the sediment from lines is for businesses and homeowners to run hot and cold water taps, and water heaters, to flush the system, Ball said. (Water that looks milky is water that has excess air in it, Ball explained.) The city will work with customers to adjust their water bills so that they don’t pay extra for running their water, Ball said.

-The city’s AVL Alert system was not properly employed to make Asheville residents aware of the water line break issues, said Dawa Hitch, the city’s director of communication and public engagement, but it will be used property in the future when it comes to water line breaks.

-One person has contacted the city to express concerns about getting sick after recently drinking water, according to Ball, who said city officials are working to get more information about that case. David Melton, who oversees the city water system, stressed that constant testing shows that drinking water is safe.

-There is currently no recourse for businesses like craft beer breweries or hotels to recoup the cost of lost business due to the water line breaks, according to city manager Debra Campbell. “We sincerely sympathize with the frustration residents are feeling,” Campbell said Tuesday. The city takes the water line breaks seriously, she said, knowing that residents and businesses depend on the city to provide excellent water quality.

-If your water remains discolored or is getting darker, call the city’s customer service number at 828-251-1122. A Water Maintenance worker will come to address the issue.

-Asheville’s Water Resources Department.

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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