The YouTube video “Water Pressure 9-1-13” isn’t likely to go viral, but it provides a glimpse at a growing problem in Weddington.Some town residents who rely on Union County’s water system can see their water pressure go from weak to none in a matter of seconds. The cellphone video taken in the kitchen of Robert Gunst’s Rose Hill neighborhood home shows a weak water flow that slows to nothing in less than 30 seconds. A hand pushes the tap up and down – with no effect – as Gunst’s voice narrates. Gunst and other residents of Rose Hill and the nearby Stratford Hall neighborhood have been frequent speakers at Weddington town council meetings, where they’ve told of times they couldn’t take a shower, wash clothes, run their dishwasher or water their lawns.Chances are good they will share more of these stories at a 7 p.m. public hearing Oct. 14, immediately before Weddington’s Town Council is expected to vote on a conditional zoning application that would allow the county to build a 1.5-million-gallon water tower on Hemby Road near the Providence Volunteer Fire Department. As of last week, the location for the public hearing had not been set, but Weddington Town Administrator Amy McCollum said there’s a chance it’ll be at Weddington United Methodist Church. “On Aug. 26, the town’s planning board voted in favor of the current site,” said Union County Public Works Director Ed Goscicki. “The (Weddington) council will vote on ... the tank at the public hearing.” If Weddington approves the zoning, the earliest construction could begin would be April 2014, he said. If construction begins in April, the $3.8 million tower should be operational in June 2015, he said. Not everyone has been in favor of the site. Weddington Town Councilman Werner Thomisser said he recently has been overwhelmed by emails from opponents to the proposed Hemby Road water tower site. “I’m trying to explain to them that we had a house burn down in Lake Providence,” he said, “and they had to shuttle tankers down to Hadley Park to fill the tankers up” because of water pressure problems. “It’s no longer an issue of where the water tower should be,” he said. “It has become a health and safety issue.” Linda Watt lives in the Waybridge neighborhood in Weddington and says a better site could chosen.“The Hemby site was chosen at the 12th hour. It wasn’t a first pick, and it’s not the most sensible,” Watt said. “In my opinion, the council’s decision was rash, without research to support their decision. Hemby is not zoned commercial. ... “This will be one of the largest water towers in the Carolinas at 179 feet tall with a 48-foot cement base on elevated land, and it will be seen for miles. It will be built to withstand 100 mph winds right next to the Weddington Fire Station. “Placement of a tower will open this ... densely-populated residential area to low-scale commercial building and change the look of our Weddington residential area forever. “We (at Hemby Road and Beulah Church Road) have already been burdened with a cell tower and an electric substation. When will it stop?” Union County Public Works first identified the need for a water tower in 2005, Goscicki said. Previous efforts to build a tower have failed because of objections to proposed sites, and the problem has become more critical as the town has grown. A new growth surge is currently underway. Weddington Town Planner Jordan Cook said the town has approved plans for 637 new homes in new and existing subdivisions. He estimated that about half would be tapping into the county water system, and the other half would be on private wells.Rose Hill and Stratford Hall are among the subdivisions constructing new homes.Goscicki said the town’s water-pressure problems are caused by several factors including system growth, the ground elevations compared to the system’s current pressure gradient and the lack of elevated storage in the area. In the Rose Hill subdivision, Union County Public Works has recorded pressures as low as 20 pounds per square inch in the distribution system, Goscicki said. “House pressure would be lower depending on the size of the plumbing and how many stories the home has,” he added.Gunst attached a pressure gauge to an outdoor spigot at his house to keep track of pressure.Although he took the cellphone video the morning of Sept. 1, pressure issues are more predictable in the afternoons, he said.Gunst and his neighbors say they cannot tolerate any more delays.He knows opponents to the Hemby Road site will be out in force at the public hearing “and they have a right not to want it there,” he said. “But the problem is not going to go away. The problem is only going to get worse.”Jane Duckwall is a freelance writer for Union News. Have a story idea for Jane? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, Sep. 18, 2013
Water tower hearing set
Water pressure video Here are some links to the YouTube video: • https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OoOdopaCQQg • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skQUAeAYNHk
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