Local News

High and Dry: Elm City Without Water

Posted September 13, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— The spigots are dry in Elm City, and officials are scrambling to quench the the town's thirst.

Every water customer in the Wilson County town of 2,000 people is affected. Elm City officials believe they have the problem fixed, and they hope the water is flowing again in three or four days. The water pump needs several days to build up pressure.

"We closed most things in town that use a lot of water," says city commissioner Melvin Cooke. "[Water pressure] is building back up rapidly."

Students fromElm City Elementary School and Middle Schoolwent home early Thursday, and the schools will be closed Friday. The surprise dismissal was an inconvenience for parents.

"It's a bad thing," says parent Shirley Battle. "It's inconvenient for us to have to get off work and come and get the children."

Officials believe a couple of factors contributed to the water problem.

A lingering problem with low levels in an aquifer has plagued the town in the past. The water level is simply too low to reach the pump in the city's well.

Also, a pump was hit by lightning Wednesday night, which city leaders believe caused the immediate drop in pressure.

Elm City is certainly not alone when it comes to water problems. Thousands of North Carolinians have to use bottled water every day because of contaminated wells.