City crew working to restore water service

A McComb Public Works crew repairs a fire hydrant on Old Liberty Road after it got knocked over in a wreck on Monday night. This was one reason that water pressure has been far below normal this week.

McComb’s water situation continues to vex residents and city officials alike as crews scramble to fix the problem while rain moved in Wednesday afternoon.

“We are trying to get a crew together now, and get out here,” Assistant Public Works Director Eric Spurlock said Wednesday morning. “We are going to try to get it done today, but we don’t know what all is really messed up, so we have to fix what we know is damaged, and then look for more.”

Spurlock said at the time that he was hopeful his team would be able to brave the frozen city streets, but he said the city needs to “expect the unexpected” when it comes to winter weather.

“We are on a boil-water notice until I can take two consecutive water samples that are good,” he said. “We don’t know, but it is best to be safe than sorry when it comes to water.”

Spurlock urged residents not to go out in the weather until road conditions cleared up, noting that he saw many people out looking around only to get stuck, leaving themselves in a precarious situation.

“A lot of cars got stuck yesterday, and that is one of our big concerns,” he said, noting that his department works with heavy machinery that could easily get struck by an out-of-control vehicle.

“We can’t control the people, but I can control my crew,” Spurlock said.

The main water system issues that the city knows about are two burst mains and a fire hydrant that was damaged when a driver slid into it.

Public works crews were unable to fix those issues Tuesday when the weather stalled their efforts. Some city trucks got stuck in the icy mess.

On Wednesday morning, crews had arrived at the scene of the plowed-over fire hydrant on Old Liberty Road. They had removed it, along with a large section of attached pipe, as they prepared to cap the line — a move that would hopefully improve water pressure.

“The sun is working in our favor. I know there is still ice and snow, but we have people without water, so we have to do what we can and hope the sun keeps working with us,” Spurlock said.

A post on the city’s Facebook page Tuesday afternoon said that lack of winter equipment, such as a snow plow, is one of the big things slowing the repairs down.

“Employees attempted to make water repairs. Due to the condition of the streets, their trucks got stuck and had to be pulled out,” The post said. “Without a snow plow, they could not get their equipment or trucks to the repair sites.”

As public works crews contended Wednesday with getting to the damaged parts of the water system, more rain pelted them in the early afternoon to the end of the night, with below freezing temperatures during the night.

Thursday’s forecast called for cloudy skies with a slightly warmer high of 39 degrees. Another freeze is expected Thursday night.

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