Thomasville Water Crisis Update
More than 85 percent of Thomasville’s populace is without water, and at an emergency meeting Monday morning, city officials could not guarantee when water would be back on.
“I’ve never felt so helpless,” said Mayor Sheldon Day.
There are three water mains through the city that are still on to try to feed the city’s water storage tanks and keep the entire system from going dry. Those lines are still charged with water and city employees have been manning controls around the clock to keep at least the core of the city’s water system pressurized.
“We’ve gotten less than 150,000 gallons of water from Pine Hill the past two days,” Day said. At peak usage, Thomasville uses nearly 2 million gallons of water per day.
A pump broke down at the Pine Hill water treatment plant over the weekend, and a water main in Pine Hill blew out, both taking down the system for a number of hours over the weekend, aggravating an already serious problem.
“Just this morning, we had to cut off another 150 houses to maintain pressure at the hospital,” Day said, and then choked up. “I’m sorry, it’s been a very emotional few days. When the people of this town hurt, it hurts me too. I’ve been mad and sad and back to mad.”
In addition to the mechanical problems, Pine Hill serves a number of smaller rural water systems. Those systems usually pump for a small part of the day to fill their storage tanks, but with the freeze, those systems have been pumping more water than ever. With their location upstream of Thomasville, that’s been cutting into the city’s supply, Day said.
Day said he has asked Pine Hill’s mayor to temporarily shut off water to the smaller rural systems Pine Hill serves to help Thomasville, but so far, that has not happened. Gov. Bob Riley was also expected to place a call to Pine Hill Mayor, Harry Mason about the issue.
As of Monday morning, however, the amount of water being pumped into Thomasville’s system had increased above what it has been since the crisis started last Thursday. “In a best case scenario, it would be another two to three days at current pace,” Day said.
In the meantime, water is being distributed at Thomasville City Hall and more truckloads of water are on the way. Customers on the Thomasville or Mid-Central water system can pick up water after signing for it.
A no burn order is in effect and all laundries and car washes have been ordered closed. City employees cut off water to the Sonic when it was discovered the sprinkler system there was still running. Other businesses have been ordered to do the same. Area restaurants have been asked to conserve water, but they have not been asked to close as of Monday at noon.
There will be no school again in Thomasville Tuesday.