09/02/07 — County's water districts not running dry despite drought

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County's water districts not running dry despite drought

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 2, 2007 2:01 AM

Despite concerns by the city of Goldsboro about water usage levels, Wayne County's water districts aren't too worried yet.

The difference, officials explained, is that the rural districts draw their water from deep wells.

"The city pulls from surface water. Our water comes from 200 to 300 feet underground. It's different aquifers, and the ones we're pulling from are not in as dire straits," said Joey Threewitts, operations manager for Wayne Water Districts.

Wayne Water Districts is comprised of the Belfast-Patetown, Eastern Wayne, Northwestern Wayne, South-eastern Wayne and the Southwestern Wayne sanitary districts. Together, they cover almost all of Wayne County, serving about 18,000 customers from 39 wells.

The rest of the county, the Rosewood and the Mar-Mac communities, are served by the Fork Township and the Southern Wayne sanitary districts, respectively. Fork Township has 22 wells serving about 4,400 customers, while Southern Wayne has seven wells serving slightly more than 2,700 customers.

Officials at both also said they aren't overly concerned about the dry conditions yet.

"We haven't seen a decrease in the water levels in our wells, but we're monitoring them all the time. (The dry weather) isn't affecting us right now, but it might in the future," Fork Township manager Tony McCabe said.

Southern Wayne office manager Rhonda Johnson also indicated that their water levels are still at safe and acceptable levels.

Customer usage across the county, though, has gone up this summer, despite officials saying that requests for conservation have been heeded.

"We are still under voluntary water restrictions, and people are listening," McCabe said.

The biggest reason for the increased usage, Threewitts explained, is people watering their lawn -- something they are trying to strongly discourage.

"This is potable water. We're pumping it for people to use, not for them to water their lawns," he said.

Fortunately, he continued, some people are dropping their own private wells for irrigation purposes.

Of the 75 permits handed out by the county Health Department since April, the majority have been for private irrigation purposes.

Because of the lack of reporting requirements until this year, explained county environmental health supervisor Kevin Whitley, they are not sure exactly how many wells are really in Wayne County, but so far, they haven't heard many complaints about the dry conditions affecting them.

"We haven't had any people calling saying their wells have run dry or anything," he said. "The majority of people in Wayne County are on county water and not their own systems.

"But if you're worried about your well running dry, the best thing is to try and reduce your usage to the essentials."