City working with DOT contractor in effort to prevent any other problems

Twice in a three-week span residents of Tucker Creek and MacDonald Downs were either forced to boil water for consumption or to purchase bottled water from a grocery store.

Crews working on the Slocum Road highway interchange project have twice cut water lines, causing disruptions to water supplies in the two subdivisions.

The first event happened on Oct. 13 and cost the city $5,600 in repairs. The second happened on Oct. 25, and the city has yet to receive a bill on the total cost of that repair.

Lauren Wargo, spokeswoman for the city of Havelock, said both breaks involved a utility subcontractor working on the highway project and the city, which is responsible for properly marking the utility lines.

“A final decision on how the events will be adjudicated has not been made at this time,” Wargo said in an email response to questions posed by the Havelock News.

She said the issue was complicated.

In general, it is not always easy to get definitive information on a line breakage in a construction site that has as much traffic as this one,” Wargo wrote. “Historical records of original ‘as-built’ water and sewer lines are not always completed or accurate. The utility right of way, in the area of construction, has infrastructure from multiple utility providers and sometimes lines are not marked accurately or completely.”

She said the city is taking steps to prevent another line break.

“To help mitigate any future problems, the CoH (city of Havelock) has stationed personnel on site to help positively clear every dig area using a ground penetrating radar,” she said.

However, the issue isn’t anything new for the city, according to Wargo. She said the city’s long-term goals include an infrastructure project to remap all of the city’s utility lines.

“The city has already applied for two $150,000 grants to help with the mapping project, but these grants will only meet a small portion of the overall requirement,” she wrote. “The city of Havelock is making a concerted effort to upgrade the water and sewer plants. We are focused on properly funding infrastructure repair requirements in order to provide our citizens with reliable and sustainable water and sewer service.”

In the end, she said, the city wants to properly serve its customers.

“We understand the significant impacts that the loss of water and sewer has on our daily lives and are working to meet the highest expectations of our citizens,” she wrote.