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Pilot Mountain boil advisory remains in effect, Mayor speaks

The Town of Pilot Mountain and Mayor Evan Cockerham both released statements on social media Thursday mid-morning regarding the boil advisory that is still in effect as the result of a water main break on old US 52.

The Town’s statement was succinct, “We do not have an update on the water test yet. We hope to hear back tomorrow. Please continue to follow the precautionary boil water advisory until we hear back.” The town also provided an infographic on the boil advisory that clarifies when it is necessary to boil water for safety from bacteria.

They also noted that garbage service is delayed until Dec. 30.

Mayor Evan Cockerham had much more to say on the matter. His statement in full follows:

“There is a bit of confusion about what the boil advisory means. I also wanted to provide information on what necessitated the advisory.

“First, our public works staff worked late into the night and through early morning hours on Tuesday and Wednesday to repair a break in a water main on Old US 52. When dealing with this type of emergency, there are a couple of options: 1. The team can shut off water to the entire town which causes a total loss of pressure for an extended period of time, this is potentially dangerous because the system loses all pressure and can introduce bacteria into the water supply. OR 2. The team can try to make the repair while the water is still running.

“Staff opted for option 2, even though that was the much more difficult option. I am very grateful for their efforts. Public works was in sub-freezing temperatures, in a ditch with running water. They tried to reduce pressure by releasing water from some of the hydrants, that’s why many of you noticed water in other places and why staff came through and salted those areas. Unfortunately, they could not avoid the system losing pressure for a very short time in the early morning hours as the repair was completed.

“In any situation where the system loses pressure, we are required by the state to issue a boil advisory. This does not mean that something dangerous was detected in the water supply, but out of caution it is advised to boil water to eliminate the possibility of bacteria before consuming.

“So, when will we be able to lift the advisory?

“Staff has expedited the collection of water samples and requested that the required tests be expedited as well. We expect results later today or tomorrow at the latest. At that time, so long as everything comes back normally and we expect it will, we can lift the advisory and operate as normal.

“This was a much more common occurrence six short years ago. I remember it happening often when I first moved here. I had many of the same questions and confusion. That is why we have prioritized replacing and making our infrastructure more solid. Even if everything turns out fine, the interruption and the boil advisory is a problem for local businesses and a concern for our citizens who rely on our system.

“I am happy to answer any questions you may still have. Thank you.”

Towns around the county are no doubt looking at the situation in Pilot Mountain and in communities across the Southeast who have experienced similar issues with water main failures due to the significant cold weather system that has been named Elliot and wondering if they may be next.



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