ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (December 10, 2020) — While the devastating loss of life and damage to roads associated with the Nov. 12 flood event have been well documented in Alexander County, less obvious has been the impact to the EnergyUnited Water Corporation System.
“A large portion of our system is located in the hardest-hit area of Alexander County,” said EnergyUnited Water Corporation General Manager Rod Watts. “I, our board of directors, and our staff are heartbroken to see the loss of life and damage that has occurred. Our members are our friends and family, and it hurts to see them suffer. Unfortunately, this storm has also affected our ability to provide full service to those in the hardest-hit area.”
The storm damage has left Watts with the challenge of providing adequate water service for residences and, most troubling, water volume for fire hydrants.
Watts pointed out that the system’s transmission waterlines are located in the right-of-way for local roads, and that washed-out roads and bridges normally means damaged waterlines. Some of the most significant waterlines affected include three which were completely washed out: a four-inch line on Lackey Road, a six-inch line on Hopewell Church Road, and a 12-inch line that crossed the Cheatham Ford Bridge. Additional line damage was incurred at a second location on Cheatham Ford Road and on Rocky Face Church Road, Sloan Road, Sulphur Springs Road, and Rocky Springs Road.
“Obviously, the 12-inch line across the Cheatham Ford Bridge supplied a tremendous amount of water to the northeastern section of Alexander County,” Watts said. “There were some temporary outages, but we have continued to provide water service to the area. There were some customers affected by low pressure, and it’s possible that will continue until the roads and bridges are repaired.”
While occasional low pressure to homes may be inconvenient, low water volume is a very serious concern for fire-fighting capability.
“Because of the numerous damaged lines, the water volume at the fire hydrants just isn’t there,” Watts said. “It’s a serious situation, and we have alerted the local fire departments. Really, all areas north of NC Hwy. 90 are affected by low volume at hydrants.”
Watts said that full repairs to the system will be a lengthy process with costs expected to exceed $400,000.
“We are working as hard and fast as we can to fix this situation,” Watts said. “The relationship we have with the NC Department of Transportation is great, and we appreciate the challenge that they are also facing in repairing roads and bridges. But our system can’t be fully restored until the road system is fully restored, and we want citizens to be aware of this situation. We also appreciate our customers’ patience with our crews who are out there every day trying to resolve these issues.”