Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?
OK, good news.
The city’s water system did not suffer any negative impacts from the storm and did not have to move off of standard operating procedures at any point. The drinking water was always safe throughout the hurricane and remains safe to drink today. It does not expect any future impacts on the water system.
The city’s sewer system, however, has been significantly impacted. The 20-plus inches of rain, combined with the 10-plus feet of storm surge, has inundated the portions of our system that are in the flooded areas of the city.
The City of New Bern’s Water Resources Department continues to work through the impacts of Hurricane Florence on water and sewer operations.
More than 70 members of the city’s Water Resources Department have been working continuously since Wednesday to keep water and sewer systems functioning and return them to normal operations.
“We can report that our wastewater treatment plant did NOT suffer any storm-related impacts. It is fully functioning today and 80 percent of the sewer system is back to normal operations,” city officials announced.
“However, for the areas that have been hardest hit by flooding, our pump stations in those areas have been inundated by water and are not functioning properly. Crews are moving from pump station to pump station with equipment to try and return them to, or maintain them at, operational levels.
“Until we can fully restore the pump stations in our low-lying and flooded areas to service, we ask the residents these areas to restrict their use of the sewer system through the greatly restricted use of water in their homes. These areas include the Trent Woods, Pembroke, and James City neighborhoods of the city.”
Drinking water is safe and its safety was never an issue during the storm. However, the use of water that will enter the sewer system must be restricted in flooded and low-lying areas. Restrictions of water use in these areas include, but are not limited, to: the use of toilets, showers/baths, and the use of sinks, dishwashers, and washing machines. If residents are cleaning their homes using water, we ask that they use buckets to capture their water use and not run their taps.
Water Resources Department employees will continue to work throughout the week to return the sewer system to normal.
The City of New Bern understands that this is an added inconvenience as our residents begin to recover from Hurricane Florence and we thank them for their patience.
“With their help, we will be able to restore our sewer system to normal operations as soon as possible.”