City 'turning the corner' on water crisis


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Friday, January 12, 2018

Elizabeth City appears to be “turning the corner” in its days-long water crisis, City Manager Rich Olson reported Friday.

Olson said the city is once again generating more water than it’s losing, although it’s still losing a lot of water. Olson reported Tuesday the city was seeing extreme water loss due to many line breaks after freezing temperatures damaged pipes citywide.

In addition to many residential water leaks — which slammed plumbers with work — there were also reports of large leaks at College of The Albemarle and Elizabeth City State University. The widespread leaks left the city losing more water than it was producing on Tuesday and Wednesday, creating fears the city might not be able to meet water demand without drastic measures.

With the COA and ECSU leaks fixed, and residents seeing to leaks on their property, Olson said the city has curbed the water loss some, although it’s still buying almost 280 gallons of water a minute from Pasquotank County.

However, the city is still losing so much water that some large leaks may still be out there, Olson said. City crews are rechecking various areas for leaks, including around Knobbs Creek, the Camden Causeway, and the Riverside Avenue-Rivershore Road area, he said.

With the city making headway on the problem, Olson said he doesn’t anticipate taking any unusual steps to control water use.

Olson reported earlier this week the city had considered asking businesses that use a lot of water to temporarily close.