ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WSPA) – Asheville City Council announced they will now be appointing an independent review committee focused on reviewing the recent water outages in the city.
Residents impacted by water outages said they still feel worried.
“I know people who have been without water for weeks,” said Sydney Haga, city resident.
But as Wednesday marked the first day the boil water advisory had been lifted, the city was looking into new ways to prevent this from happening again.
“The extreme cold weather for that many days caused so many breaks in the system and ramped up the demand of water,” said Asheville Mayor Esther Manheimer.
In a news conference it was announced that an independent review committee would be tasked with the responsibility of looking into the city’s infrastructure needs.
Council member Kim Roney gave a statement to 7NEWS, saying the city council was hoping the committee would include a range of people, from subject matter experts to customers who experienced the effects of the situation.
“Our check-in meeting agenda for Council on Thursday includes scheduled discussion of timeline of events and next steps regarding the water system outage, which I anticipate will include a committee appointment process,” said Roney in a statement. “To gain better understanding for improvement of our emergency response protocols, I think we should include customers who fell through gaps in communication, especially those without affordable access to the internet, hearing-impaired individuals, and residential and commercial renters who are not the primary contact as a water customer. It’s imperative that water customers inside and outside the city limits be included.”
But despite these updates, many city residents like Haga, who has had contaminated and discolored water since Christmas Eve, said she’s still feeling the effects.
“If I want to drink water it requires boiling it and waiting for it to cool down in order to drink it,” said Haga.
Mayor Esther Manheimer said once the new committee is created, she’s hoping for a 30-day after-action report to be made.
The team is expected to contract with an outside, expert engineering firm. They will also be tasked with completing a 90-day report with a long term response plan that includes infrastructure, crisis communication needs and emergency response gaps.
In the meantime, city residents said they are desperate for things to return to normal.
“Water is a basic thing that we are promised when we live here to pay rent,” said Haga.
City council hopes to pass a resolution to create the independent committee at its Jan. 10 meeting.
While the water has been restored, not all customers will see full pressure or full water restoration at the same time, and water may be discolored for many still as well.