MTYT: The blame game

By Gary McNair - bio|email

Water, water, everywhere – and not much time to think!

That was the situation that faced the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority Friday.  Millions of gallons of water poured out of a broken water main, and workers sprang into action.

I don't doubt the folks at the utility company worked as hard as they could to get the situation under control, but still there are problems.  Some restaurant workers told us they had no idea about a boil water advisory and mandatory water restrictions until they saw it on WECT.  And we even heard from folks who said they didn't see it on WECT enough.

Cape Fear officials say it's not their job to inform businesses – that belongs to the county health department.  The health department tells us, that's wrong; it really is Cape Fear's job to inform the public.  Meanwhile, some restaurants closed – others stayed open.  And confusion reigned.

At a news conference Monday aimed at clarifying matters, a worker said Cape Fear threatened fines to those who overused water in an effort to "scare" people.  Then in a news release later they said they didn't mean "scare," but "inform."

It's been two years of stumbles and bumbles for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority.  Don't you think it's time for the leadership there to take some of that extra water spilled on the streets last week and flush all the blame and excuses down the drain?

That's My Turn.  Now it's Your Turn.  To comment on this segment, or anything else, email me at

Emailed comments from viewers:

I feel that CFPUA should give it's customers a credit for the inconvince of the past weekend. They said the spill was due to a fatigued pipe. Haven't they increased our rates three times already this year for "improvements"? Why wasn't this major pipe number one on this improvement list? We pay to have access to clean and safe water. I mean the base charge alone is enough to empty your bank. Not only did they take there time to inform the public, they caused the waste of a massive amount of water when water is so precious as it is, and we also had to refrain from summer fun activities over this hot hot hot weekend. Am I the only one who feels that something should be done? When I called and asked about a credit I was laughed at. What kind of service are we really paying for?


You hit the nail on the head! If I had not been watching WECT at 6PM on Friday, I would not have known about the water main break or the boil water advisory. Then we got confusing information about whether to boil or not (it was recommended but optional).

When I write out my monthly check to our water/sewer agency I make it out to Cape Fear PUA. (Wish I could just shorten it to PU).


Amen!!  In regard to your comments on the recent water main break.  I couldn't have said it better, although I gave it my best shot in a written complaint to Cape Fear Public Utility Authority last Friday.  I hope they were inundated with complaints and will take positives steps to correct their procedures.  So far, I haven't seen anything positive come from "The Authority" as they like to be called.

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