Winton returns to ‘normal’

Published 1:08 pm Friday, August 7, 2009

WINTON – As of high noon on Friday, things were almost back to normal for those who live and work in Winton.

A “boil water” advisory was still in effect, but that was expected to be lifted later in the day on Friday.

Thursday was a different story after a Wednesday night lightning strike caused numerous problems, including emptying the town’s 200,000 gallon water storage tank. That was due to a ruptured water line.

“We’ve got everything back up and running now,” said Hertford County Emergency Management Director Charles Jones, who also is a Winton Town Commissioner, speaking to the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald at lunch time on Friday. “We cranked our water pumps back up around 4 p.m. on Thursday and by supper time we had our water pressure back.”

The only item not checked off the agenda was the results of a mandatory water test. Jones said water samples were taken on Thursday and sent to a lab in Elizabeth City. From there, the results will be sent to the Division of Water Quality (DWQ) office in Raleigh.

“Once we receive the green light from DWQ, everything will be fine here on our end,” Jones said. “We’ll be able to lift the water advisory after that.”

Jones added that the biggest problem dealing with treated water is when a system is entirely depleted.

“That wasn’t the case here; we had water in the lines, just not in the storage tank,” he noted.

Jones said he expected to receive word from DWQ by Friday afternoon.

The problem occurred after lightning struck a tree near the corner of Joyner Street and Jordan Street in the southwestern portion of town. That bolt jumped from the base of the tree to a nearby fire hydrant, causing the water line to rupture. That, in turn, drained the town’s water tank, located in the Mulberry Street/Hill Street area of town.

Jones said the problem wasn’t discovered until early Thursday morning.

“Once it was discovered, the water tank was completely shut down in order to make repairs to the ruptured water line,” Jones said during an interview conducted Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, a lack of water forced some Winton businesses to close. It also led to the offices of Hertford County local government and the Hertford County Courthouse to close. There were also issues with the loss of air conditioning and e-mail in the government offices. Neither of those issues was linked to the water woes in town.

“I was told the air-conditioning problem was due to a motor burning-up,” Jones said. “I don’t know what caused the loss of e-mail.”

Hertford County government offices were back in operation on Friday.