By Max Hrenda
Last month, residents of the North Elizabethton Water Co-Op and the Siam and South Elizabethton Utility Districts may have noticed a strange taste to the water coming from their taps.
Not to worry, folks. According to the Watauga River Regional Water Authority, that’s what clean tastes like.
After nearly two years of construction, the Little Wilbur Dam Water Treatment Facility started pumping water to residents of those districts in early December.
Bryon Trantham, executive director for the WRRWA, said the new facility means fewer of the old problems for those districts.
“Siam had a lot of problems with turbidity in their well, and not being able to get the gallons they needed in drought,” Trantham said. “South was only allowed (a few) gallons of water from Hampton. North was buying water from Elizabethton, renting, so to speak.”
Instead of drawing its water from a well, spring, or neighboring community, the facility draws its water from nearby Wilbur Lake. Trantham elaborated, saying the plant is the only surface water treatment facility in Carter County.
”All other water sources are springs or wells,” Trantham said. “At times, those can become unreliable.”
In this case, ‘unreliable’ also means ‘unhealthy.’
Trantham said springs and wells can become murky or polluted over time. The dirtier the water becomes, the greater the chance that diseases or algae can form.