An improvised water system is now serving this Scott County community, population 317, while officials seek options for repairing a leaky water tank that was patched last year.
Dungannon was initially put on a state of emergency in November by the Scott County Board of Supervisors due to a water leak that left townspeople with no drinkable water for more than two weeks.
Water System Manager Ray Blevins was able to repair the leak, but when he recently looked into the 250,000-gallon tank — which can hold up to 39 feet of water — he found about 2 feet of water in the tank and what appeared to be holes in the bottom, Scott County Emergency Management Coordinator Jeff Brickey said.
Instead of shutting down the whole town’s water system, Blevins began pumping water from wells directly into the system, bypassing the leaky water tank.
Scott County Assistant Administrator Kathie Noe said town officials have contacted a company about repairing the tank.
“They have gotten some grant funding to put in lines and maybe repair the tank, but that probably won’t be enough,” Noe said. “They’re looking at a lot of money to get this done.”
For a town that has been dealing with leaks for almost five months, the cost of the needed repairs could put a strain on Dungannon’s finances, Noe said.
“The grant may be for $40,000, and tank repairs could run up to $100,000,” Noe said.
While the repair to the water tank will be costly, replacing the tank would also require funding that may not be available to Dungannon.
New water tanks can cost $300,000 to $400,000 depending on the size, said Scott County Supervisor Paul Fields.
Dungannon Mayor Phil Osborne said one bid for the tank repair has been received, and town officials are awaiting a second.
The mayor hopes the leaks can be fixed within a couple of weeks.
To fix the leaks, the town will need to shut down the tank and empty it of the remaining water, Brickey said. After finding the leaks and sealing them, the interior will have to be re-coated and tested for bacteria.
Until the tank is fixed and a bacteria test can be performed, Osborne said the community is on a boil-water notice.
Town officials told Noe that at some point they may need a tanker of water from the county to help supplement water now being pumped from wells into water lines.
The town still has some gallon jugs of water at the Dungannon Lifesaving Crew station for people who cannot get drinkable water from the water system.