Water woes: Many residents in Camden County frustrated over water pressure, availability

Water hose, water pressure, water, hose
Posted at 4:05 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 20:16:14-04

SOUTH MILLS, N.C. - South Mills is a tiny town of only 450 residents in Camden County. Bodies of water slice right through the village, both the Dismal Swamp Canal and the Intracoastal Waterway - but it's water that is currently the source of frustration for those who call the community home.

"I have been putting up with this for six years," said Dale Lalonde, a South Mills resident.

Dale and his wife, Jeannie, are running low.

"You can't run a dishwasher or take a shower. There is no water; it dribbles out," Dale said.

It's minimal water pressure caused by lack of water availability that has residents frustrated with the South Mills Water Association wells.

"In 2008 when I started, we had 20 wells. Since then, eight have gone dry," said Wayne Raper, head of the South Mills Water Association.

The water association is technically owned by all South Mills residents. For years, they've bought water, around 150,000 gallons a day, from South Camden Water to serve half of the residents because they don't have enough well water to go around.

Another issue is new development approved by the county, meaning more homes that the association is tasked with serving.

"We have stored gallons of water, empty water bottles, jugs," Dale Lalonde said. "We even boil rainwater."

Raper says there's no issue with the water pressure.

"Our typical pressure is 46 PSI to 50 PSI; [it's] always been the same. It's what it is right now," Raper said. "It doesn't fall below that unless there is a fire."

So, we asked Dale to check his water pressure around 11 a.m. Thursday.

"It is 40 PSI, and in the middle of the day when no one's at home," Dale said.

That's lower than what Raper said was the standard.

News 3 reporter Chelsea Donovan asked Raper if some sort of solution was coming for South Mills residents.

"I don't know what to say," Raper said. "Cut the camera off."

News 3 found that there could be some solutions on the horizon. A new well is being built in Camden County that would supply water, and starting December 1, Pasquotank County will supply water to about 1,000 residents that the South Mills Water Association currently serves.