GARY, WV (WOAY) – The town of Gary is going through a water crisis, with roughly 800 people not having any running water since July 21.
The issues started when the town’s water pumping system suddenly broke down. Within a day of the breakage the entire town was out of water. The town’s chief of police S.P. McKinney says that the issues are being caused by the location of the town’s water source.
“The water that we’re putting into our system to treat is coming out of an old mine area. So there’s a lot of iron in there from the old equipment. So that eats at the pumps; the pump that went down was just five years old.”
Now the town is banding together to distribute thousands of gallons of water to the roughly 800 people that live there. McKinney says the new water pump that the town ordered has to be specially made, and will take nearly another week to arrive.
“It has to be custom built for the length of pipe that has to pump water, amount of water to be pumped, and all that has to be figured in. So the pump has to be custom-made to suit the hole.”
While the town is out of water, the public works team is getting water to where it needs to go. Dozens of local organizations from all over Southern West Virginia have donated to the cause. But it will still be some time until the town’s pumping system is back in order.
“Phase one is get water out the hole, phase two is get a better distribution so the water maintains on constantly, phase three is find a better source so it’s cleaner, easier to treat and the water is better coming out of the spigot.”
Even after the pump is fixed, the town still needs to find a better source of water. One with less iron that will cause the pumps to break down. Until the new pump arrives, the town is expected to go through 15,000 gallons of water, which will be used for everything from bathing, washing hands, doing dishes and anything in between.
The town was granted emergency funding by the economic development authority to purchase the new pump.