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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Residents at Wilmington senior housing community say they're entering fifth day without reliable water

Residents get bottled water from a community space in Taylor Homes, Jan. 10, 2023
Kelly Kenoyer
Residents get bottled water from a community space in Taylor Homes, Jan. 10, 2023

The Robert R. Taylor Homes in Wilmington have been operating without reliable potable water since Thursday according to residents. The management company says there has been much more limited interruption to water service.

Update: Despite Excel Property Management's claims, residents say the water is still not running consistently, and still is not potable.

The low-income community for seniors is located in Wilmington’s North Side, and has 96 units. The property is owned by Wilmington Housing Authority but operated by Excel Property Management.

Excel's on-site management attempted to prevent WHQR from speaking to residents, unsuccessfully.

Those residents said management on site is providing limited quantities of bottled water, and the water is turned on for short periods of time in the morning and the evening, residents said. They also said when water was available for limited periods of time it was not potable, coming out of the tap murky or with bits of dirt.

A spokesperson for the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority said they were alerted to an issue on Thursday and later determined it was due to a break in a backflow device; CFPUA says the issue is up to the property owner or manager.

A spokesperson from Excel's corporate office in Raleigh said that water was restored Tuesday afternoon after it was turned off earlier in the day to repair a leak. Excel denied that the water was off for several days.

"[A] water leak was noticed by staff Thursday evening, and the utility company was called on Friday morning. They responded and determine the leak was on 'our side.' Multiple plumbers and contractors were called Friday and Monday to make repairs as soon as possible. Although water was slow over the weekend, there was water to the building until it was turned off today to make the necessary repair," the spokesperson said on Tuesday evening, adding that residents had been asked to limit water usage due to low water pressure.

Excel's spokesperson said Tuesday's repair was temporary, and that a part needed for a permanent fix has been ordered and is expected to arrive on Thursday. A delivery of water to residents by the Red Cross is expected Wednesday, according to the spokesperson.

Kelly Kenoyer is an Oregonian transplant on the East Coast. She attended University of Oregon’s School of Journalism as an undergraduate, and later received a Master’s in Journalism from University of Missouri- Columbia. Contact her on Twitter @Kelly_Kenoyer or by email: KKenoyer@whqr.org.