No end in sight to Hamlet water issue

Superintendent: ‘There’s no quick fix to everybody’s problem’

By Kevin Spradlin

* Aug. 7: End in sight to Hamlet’s water woes
* July 14: ‘No health issue’ with Hamlet water

HAMLET — On Aug. 7, Robert Brown said it appeared the earthy taste experienced by many of the Hamlet water system’s 10,000-plus customers was coming to an end.

He was wrong.

On Tuesday at the Hamlet City Council’s monthly public meeting, Brown said the root problem does appear, in fact, resolved.

“The problem’s in the lines,” Brown said of the city’s system that is more than 100 years old. “It’s fixed at the plant. It’s all out in the system. There’s no way to fix everybody’s problem. The system is well over 100 years old. A lot of the odor is trapped in these older lines, with all the buildup that’s in these pipes.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Brown acknowledged in August that he made the decision to use a liquified form of copper sulphate to manage algae growth in Water Lake instead of the granulated used in prior years. Brown said the dosage of the liquid concoction wasn’t correct and that resulted in the smell and earthy taste. In early August, Brown and city workers began flushing the water lines — starting from the “hub” of the system, the water treatment plant, and working their way outward much like the spokes of a bicycle wheel.

Brown reiterated Tuesday he believes that part of the problem was resolved, but the old water lines have so much build-up — 6-inch pipes could actually have 3 inches of room because of it — that there is no clear, direct answer.

Councilman Jesse McQueen said he continues to receive complaints from city residents. Others in the chamber room said they’ve also been hearing complaints. McQueen asked Brown about purchasing water from the city of Rockingham or Richmond County governments. Brown said neither was an option.

Rockingham, he said, doesn’t have the capacity or the water. In fact, that city’s water is being supplemented by the county.

The issue, McQueen said, has “dragged on a little longer than I thought.”

Brown noted that purchasing water elsewhere “is not the quick fix, or fix-all.” But that’s exactly what McQueen sought.

“We need something to happen fast,” McQueen said. “Could you think of anybody we could call to check our lake?

Brown said he’s been in contact with a state agency that has promised to take samples but as of Tuesday, that hadn’t yet happened. It’s out of his hands, Brown said.

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  • Jayson

    My water smells like dirt, and I don’t drink it. I drink bottled water, and I buy jugs of water for my pets. Something needs to be done.

  • Marcus

    What this man has done is put a hardship on the town of Hamlet. Does he not have to answer for the trouble he has caused a whole town? Do we want someone in this position that was basically experimenting with our water system? Restaurants are losing business because of this, because these restaurants use city water for ice machines, every drink has this dirt taste to it. I have heard people talking about not eating at these places until this issue is resolved. This has gone on way too long!!! Something needs to be done NOW!

  • Daffy

    My family and I have a favorite restaurant that we eat at after church most Sundays. I have not been able to drink the tea or water there since the issue has occurred. The meat that I have is fried so “mostly” no water used in that. The sides are of course are canned and just heated though so “mostly” no water is needed for those. So as I said it is one of our favorite places and we will continue to eat there but we bring our own water. The city of Hamlet certainly has some issues with the water supply. Why are folks taking the word of the city that this mess is not harmful ? Why has the EPA not got involved by now ? If the stuff is not flushing out of the water lines and system ask yourselves “where else is it staying” ? If it is ok for the city lake at so many parts per “what ever” because it diminishes in water. Well is it building up in those that are consuming it and have a much lower water mass than the city lake ? What do folks really know about the stuff that was used ? Don’t take the city’s word for it ask/check other resources on the chemicals.

    Please don’t be “Sheeples being lead to the slater ?

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