Boil water advisory lifted in Waverly; water samples test negative for bacteria

UPDATE: The Virginia Department of Health Office of Drinking Water confirms the boil advisory has been lifted for Waverly.

Testing of water samples has also come back negative for coliform bacteria.

Mayor Walter J. Mason tells 8News a robo call will be going out to residents notifying them the boil water advisory has been lifted and it is safe to drink the water. The boil water advisory was always a precaution after the water pipe broke and leaked two weeks ago.

Mason admits the infrastructure is old and the water pipes are close to the roads’ surface. He says this will continue to happen if there’s not a more permanent fix.

His message to residents: “It is time to put your money where your mouth is.”

The next council meeting is Tuesday at Waverly Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. The mayor says he will discuss the water at this time.

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WAVERLY, Va. (WRIC) — Residents in the Town of Waverly are boiling mad, claiming town officials have left them in the dark about a potential health threat.

Residents have been under a boil water advisory for about two weeks. It was issued after a VDOT paving project along Route 460 and Main Street.

VDOT says the town’s infrastructure is aging and the water pipes close to the surface of the road. When VDOT crews began the work, the pipes began to break and leak.

“It’s brown, it’s got stuff floating in it, like it’s coming out of rusted pipes.” Waverly resident Terri Scott said, describing the water as it is now.

Scott says the color and smell of the water has her worried about her safety and the health of the little boy she babysits.

“I am scared to give him a bath here,” she said.

Another Waverly resident, Javarus Epps, added, “My kids don’t want to take a bath in it, can’t brush their teeth, got to buy water, something got to be done.”

He and several other residents tell us this is nothing new. They say the water has been brown for months.

“When I moved in here in October, they told us to boil the water,” says Scott.

Perhaps more upsetting, residents say not everyone got the latest boil notice. Some say they learned of it word of mouth days later. Others say the Town Hall won’t take their call.

Even 8News was told early Friday that officials were too busy to take our call.

“The town has been not responsive,” says Daniel Horne with the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Drinking Water.

He tells 8News Waverly has been shirking responsibility, sending callers to the state office.

“We’ve told the town several times that they need to respond to their customers, it’s their water system. VDH is not a PR firm for the town,” Horne added. “It’s frustrating.”

Waverly Council President Henry Thompson says Waverly is working to fix the water problems.

“We are making all reasonable efforts to ensure the integrity of the water system and to ensure safe drinking water for all residents.”

As for a lack of information and call dodging, Thompson says he has designated as spokesman for the water issues, but unfortunately that message didn’t get to everyone at Town Hall.

“Because of a manpower shortage, the message was miscommunicated,” says Thompson.

VDH tells 8News that as of Tuesday, 23 water leaks were repaired and the town has been told to flush the system and test the water.

Thompson says the town does not blame VDOT in any way for the cracked pipes and water issues. VDOT says it are not pointing fingers either, it is just old infrastructure.

Waverly collected water samples for testing, and as of late Friday, the first set of samples tested negative for coliform bacteria. The second set of samples were not in yet. VDH’s Office of Drinking Water is reviewing those water samples The boil advisory remains in effect.

In the meantime, some residents angry over paying $60 to $80 a month in water bills for water they can’t drink are planning to attend the next council meeting Tuesday, June 13th at 7:30 p.m.

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