Computer Glitch Fixed at Water Treatment Plant


When Town of Edenton water customers receive a letter within their September utility bills alerting of water troubles, don’t despair and move to Hyde County.

Town Manager Anne-Marie Knighton said the most recent water sampling results revealed a very slight uptick for Trihalomethanes (TTHM) in Edenton’s drinking water, a problem caused by a momentary computer glitch that has been fixed.

TTHMs, a byproduct of the chemical process used to disinfect drinking water, are considered carcinogenic.

Although Edenton’s TTHM levels don’t pose an immediate emergency, town officials are required to notify the public about them because of the potential cancer risk from drinking water with elevated TTHM levels long term.

Perspective: Labels on the back of wine bottles say that the vintage is carcinogenic too, but that’s never stopped wine and cheese night at Boone’s Farm, so there’s no need to panic when you receive one of those canary yellow letters about the TTHMs from Town Hall.

Knighton explained that while TTHMs sampling results for the 2nd Quarter 2020 were lower than the established maximum level of 0.080 mg/l, the 3rd Quarter 2020 sampling results at one location had a concentration of 0.0819 mg/l, which exceeds the maximum level. The monitoring results at the second location had a concentration of 0.0467 mg/l.

Public Works Director Corey Gooden did some trouble-shooting and discovered an electronic problem was causing the plant to backwash less frequently than designed.

Town Hall estimates the backwash cycle for Beaver Hill WTP was 20% off target.

“The problem occurred when the SCADA (electronic monitoring and control) system was installed and put into operation in late June,” Knighton said. “This problem has been corrected. We are also working with the consulting engineers and contractor to make sure the newly renovated Freemason Water Treatment Plant, which came on line in June is operating at optimal design.”

For those fiscal conservatives and taxpayers who worry about infrastructure, there is no need to panic about paying to fix the TTHM issue at the new multi-million dollar water plant that just opened in November – a place so new that it probably has “new car” smell.

Knighton said taxpayers would not have to pay for repairs.

“The contractor made adjustment to correct the electronic problem at no cost to the Town,” she said. “It was a programming problem, not a mechanical problem.”

In other news, Town Hall has received 25 applications for citizens interested in serving on the town’s Human Relations Commission.

Town Hall is going to set up two sessions for the applicants to meet informally with the Mayor and Council. Diversity wise, it looks like a diverse group of applicants: 13 Females, 12 Males; 14 are 65 years of age or older & 11 are younger than 65. It appears to me that 14 applicants grew up in Edenton, 11 moved here from other places.

Knighton said practically all the applicants have current or previous civic/community participation.

“Town Council was very pleased to have so many citizens step forward and volunteer to serve,” she said.

In other business, a number of big capital projects that the Town Council and Public Works Director Gooden have been planning for and working on for the last few years are coming to fruition.

Last week. TJ Marine, the contractor awarded the contract to install the new bulkhead at Queen Anne Creek on E. Water Street, will begin to mobilize for this project.

“The new bulkhead will be a welcomed improvement to the many residents who enjoy fishing from the Town’s property east of Hayes Bridge,” Knighton said.

The new bulkhead will be elevated to match the elevation of the bulkhead around the Elizabeth Vann Moore Park and should reduce nuisance flooding from storm surge that causes E. Water Street at S. Oakum Street to be closed to traffic.

TJ Marine will also work on the planned rehabilitation of the E. Water Storm Water Pump Station’s overflow gravity storm water discharge pipe that will allow the system to regain some needed storm water discharge capacity during heavy rain events.

This contractor is also expected to help us resolve the storm water discharge problem that developed last winter on E. Water Street at curve near the Masonic Lodge when new bulkhead was installed on the Elliott property.

Also, Central Builders, the contractor hired by the Town to make the $1 M repairs to sanitary sewer system, has completed the repair and replacement work in Stratford Road & Hawthorne Road neighborhoods.

“We appreciate the residents’ patience during this long and sometimes messy construction project,” Knighton said.

As reported at the last council meeting in response to question from Councilman Craig Miller, the sewer replacement work on the gravity outfall line from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave parallel to Filbert’s Creek to West Queen Street has been completed as well.

And, contractors mobilized recently in the Mill Village and are hard at work repairing and replacing lines in the area of Wood Avenue and E. King Street. Work will begin soon at the intersection of E. King St., S. Oakum St., and E. Water St.

This work will involve a lot of detours for traffic so hope drivers will slow down and be careful.

Also, Town Hall recently hosted pre-construction meeting with Barnhill Contracting to review the Town’s Phase 2 Streets Repairs and Overlay Project.

Town Hall expects to get a projected timetable from Barnhill for the repairs and resurfacing planned for portion of Badham Road, 2nd Street, 3rd St., Johnston Street, Oakdale Drive, E. Eden Street, E. Queen St. (from S. Broad St to Cotton Mill), W. Freemason (100 block), East Freemason (from Jackson Street to Coke Avenue), East Carteret St (200 block), Jackson Street and Pembroke Circle (which will solve major storm water problem caused by the water level of Edenton Bay being much higher for extended period of times).

Also on the repaving list from the sanitary sewer work are Hawthorne Road, Stratford Road, Wood Avenue and East King St (from S. Oakum St to the Cotton Mill).

As soon as Town Hall has a schedule from Barnhill, that information will be shared share with residents.

“Hoping it works out that Barnhill can start in the Stratford Road, Hawthorne Road, Badham Road neighborhoods first,” Knighton said.

Lastly for the Chowan Herald’s Court Street peeps, Knighton said the big utility cut at intersection of Court and Eden will likely be paved when E. Eden is paved this round of paving and some improvements planned that will help storm water discharge faster. Upside, better drainage in that turn of the road; downside, no street kayaking during major rain events.

Staff writer Miles Layton can be reached at