‘They need to be honest instead of optimistic’: Buncombe Co. residents prepare for council meeting following water restoration
On Jan. 10, Asheville city council will meet to review the cause of the incident, determine what needs to happen to prevent another, and how to improve communications.
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - On Tuesday at noon, the boil advisory in West Buncombe County was lifted. And the City of Asheville Water Department says service areas are no longer advised to boil their water before drinking. Also, water distribution operations in Buncombe County were suspended. But there’s still a lot of questions from the mountains.
Greg Wrenn has lived in West Buncombe County for 15 years and says he’s never had water issues until last week.
“I feel like they need to give a real assessment when they’re going over things,” Wrenn said. “They need to be honest instead of optimistic.”
He says his water pressure dropped, one of 38,000 people with either low water pressure, no water pressure or discolored water. At a Dec. 28 press conference officials said it would likely take 48 hours to resolve.
“I wasn’t impressed with the timelines they were giving,” Wrenn said.
Delays in a complex restoration, which is why on Jan. 2 Jamey Piercy’s daughter’s school was closed under the direction of the health department.
“Well she missed Monday, and then on Tuesday they had to improvise with bottled water, and hand sanitizer,” Piercy said.
During a Jan. 3 press conference, Asheville city manager Debra D. Campbell apologized to the approximately 38,000 impacted by water issues and boil advisories.
“I want to apologize for communicating a service restoration timeline that we were not able to achieve,” Campbell said.
On Jan. 10, Asheville city council will meet to review the cause of the incident, determine what needs to happen to prevent another, and how to improve communications. Meanwhile a spokesperson for the city says while water service has been restored across the City of Asheville’s Water Department service area, restoration of service in the area does not mean that individual customers will experience complete normal service. Customers can still experience fluctuation in service to include cloudy water or discolored water as the system is repressurized.
Additionally, city council also plans to appoint an independent review committee which will include subject matter experts and impacted customers. Officials are already looking at some areas to review, saying the AVL alert notifications did not meet expectations during the press conference on Jan. 3.
“Does that mean we need technology advancements so we have more real time information as to how each customer is affected and then how to communicate with customers,” said Esther Manheimer, City of Asheville mayor.
FOX Carolina caught up with residents impacted who provided some questions they have for elected leaders.
“My question would be the moneys that have been appropriated for our water system over the years -- have they been spent in the right areas to do the right improvements to improve the quality to keep up with the growth that we have in the area,” Piercey said.
“Well what are you going to do about the equipment? Do you have proper adequate pumping stations to make sure the water is going up the hills where it needs to be and to keep adequate pressure on the system,” added Wrenn.
The council meeting will be held on Jan. 10 in the council chamber on the second floor of city hall at 5 p.m.
Copyright 2023 WHNS. All rights reserved.