This week in history: Aug. 6

08/08/2014 1:33 PM

08/08/2014 1:34 PM

This week in history we look back 10, 25 and 50 years to see what was going on in the eastern Wake County area.

In 2004, the nix was put on a rail system between eastern Wake and Raleigh. In 1989, Zebulon was still trying to deal with its brown water problem from April. And in 1964, Zebulon was dealing with its brown water problem. No, you didn’t read that wrong; history has a way of repeating itself.


It seems like someone is always trying to get trains in more places in Wake County. In 2004, someone else was disappointed as Knightdale officials decided they wanted out.

After hearing a report detailing the feasibility of the Eastrans commuter rail that would link eastern Wake to Raleigh and points east, town officials say they’re getting off at the last stop.

Town Manager Gary McConkey said another entity will need to take the lead on the project, which so far has cost the state $68,750. “I’m not sure we’re the right ones to be the project leader anymore,” McConkey said.

Robert Bush, senior transit planner with Wilbur Smith Associates of South Carolina, presented the final version of the Eastrans Feasibility Study during a Town Council meeting July 21. Knightdale officials had taken the lead on the study, working with state Department of Transportation officials and with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Association.

He said for the project to continue, “it’s going to have to be with a coalition that crosses jurisdictional boundaries.”


Usually you don’t want your water to be brown until you’ve put the coffee in it. When it comes out brown straight from the tap, you have what is colloquially referred to as a “pretty big problem.”

Monday night, Zebulon Town Manager Charlie Horne and the Zebulon Town Board declared war on the town’s brown water problems.

In a public hearing, the board released the results of a water system study recently completed by McGill and Associates, the Asheville firm contracted in April to diagnose Zebulon’s water woes at a cost of $12,900.

Attacking the problem could ultimately cost the town about $3.5 million (in 1989 dollars) over a 20-year period.

“When we started out in April, we were hopeful we might find a fairly simple solution to a long and complex problem,” Gary McGill said to the capacity crowd in the board room. “We, unfortunately, did not do that. ... We’ve turned this water system over and around and through every way we could from all aspects of the water system – from the intake at Little River all the way through the hydrants and valves.

[...] “The water we are bringing into the system is corrosive. We are not providing all the treatment we need to provide to make it non-corrosive. Therefore, when it gets into the distribution system, it is creating an eroding effect on the piping system and is scaling off all the interior deposits on the pipelines.”


In 1964, Zebulon was experiencing other water issues. Just as it would happen 25 years later, water was flowing brown from faucets and spigots.

A slight discoloration in the water coming from some residents’ spigots is not attributed to the town’s new water plant, Water Commissioner Willie B. Hopkins reported this week.

Hopkins said the new plant is working very well and the water coming from it is in one of its purest states.

He explained that now the water comes into town with a heavier flow because of the new plant and bigger mains. The increased pressurized flow feeding into old mains washes a certain amount of rust from the mains which causes discoloration.

Hopkins said the water department is working as fast as it can to clear up the matter. However, it takes time, he said.

Some residents have voiced complaints, feeling that the new water system is not performing as it should. Hopkins said this is why he is issuing this statement.

He added again that the water plant is “100 percent all right.”

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