01/12/18 — Line breaks cause discolored water in county

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Line breaks cause discolored water in county

By Rochelle Moore
Published in News on January 12, 2018 5:50 AM

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Subfreezing temperatures that contributed to water line breaks throughout the county also led to a discoloration of water from sink faucets.

Subfreezing temperatures that contributed to water line breaks throughout the county also led to a discoloration of water from sink faucets.

The city of Goldsboro and the Wayne Water District offices have received complaints of discolored water this week, following water main and service breaks throughout the area.

"There's been individual customer complaints, yes," said Mike Wagner, Goldsboro deputy public works director of utilities. "The line breaks can create turbulence in lines which is stirring up iron and manganese, which is in the water."

Iron and manganese, commonly found in water, is usually not visible due to the normal flow of water in service lines. But when the turbidity and pressure changes, iron and manganese, which settles at the bottom of water pipes, is stirred up and discoloration is visible.

The discolored water is safe and no boil advisories have been issued by the city, Wagner said.

Water line repairs throughout the city have taken place without any disruption in service, and water pressure has increased to continue the regular flow of water to homes and businesses.

Maintaining a regular level of water pressure in service lines reduces the chance of issuing a boil water advisory, he said.

"It's still safe to drink," Wagner said. "As customers, we want our water to be crystal clear and we want it to smell good. If it's discolored at the residence, our recommendation is to flush the water, run the water."

If the problem persists, residents can contact the public works department at 739-7437 or the water treatment plant at 734-3757 during regular business hours. In some cases, the line can be flushed at a fire hydrant, which removes the discoloration.

Water customers can also call the city's emergency line after hours at 734-8674.

During the first week of January, city crews have responded to more than 25 water line breaks. As temperatures have risen this week, line breaks have continued, with city workers responding to 11 reported breaks on Wednesday, Wagner said. Crews repaired six damaged lines on Thursday, said Chad Edge, Goldsboro public works deputy director.

The water line breaks have resulted from the expansion and contraction of water lines and the soil, due to fluctuating weather conditions and below freezing temperatures, Edge said. Some water lines are buried in shallow ground and other pipes are older, he said.

"Even with the warmer temperatures, things are thawing out," Edge said. "We could possibly see it for the next several days."


Residents in several of the Wayne Water Districts have also experienced discolored water, mostly from a 12-inch water main break that took place Monday, around 5:30 p.m., on N.C. 903, north of Seven Springs and LaGrange.

"I think it was a combination of the cold weather and it split the 12-inch main," said Joey Threewitts, operations manager with the Wayne Water Districts.

The water valve was shut off Monday night and water was rerouted, which led to discoloration in some of the water supply, Threewitts said.

"What calls we were getting were from that leak and the rerouting of that water," Threewitts said. "When it does (reroute), it lifts the iron particles off the pipes and you'll have discoloration from that.

"We've had a lot of people's private lines bust and freeze and it contributes to that, too."

The water main break affected the Eastern Wayne Sanitary District and areas within the Belfast-Patetown Sanitary District. There was no disruption of service and no boil water advisories were issued, Threewitts said.

The water main, which isn't located in a residential area or area of high demand, was repaired Tuesday.

Customers throughout the county experienced water line breaks during and after subfreezing temperatures and the district's automated meter technology detected possible water leaks at 175 locations where water was shut off by the district, Threewitts said. Automated meters are connected to 17,000 of the district's 20,000 customers.

"We saw it in Eastern Wayne, Belfast and Southeastern Wayne," Threewitts said. "In three of the five districts, we had people who had busted water lines. Some people didn't even know it."