The mayor of Cumberland says the cities of Benham and Lynch need to join with his city in providing water to Tri-Cities residents. The mayors of those nearby communities say they want some questions answered first.
Cumberland Mayor Carl Hatfield says recent heavy rains caused water to rise and a major intake pump at the city's water plant to clog.
"And the debris got inside the pump, destroyed this one," he said.
The level of water in the city's water supply pools dropped another eight feet drop in supply.
"We would've been out of water, disastrous," Mayor Hatfield said.
The problem is now fixed, but Mayor Hatfield says he would like Cumberland's water system to be connected with the nearby communities of Benham and Lynch to pool their water treatment systems so there would be a safety net and more money available to each city for improvements.
"The profit is not intended for anything other than water production to replace equipment in an emergency," Mayor Hatfield said.
The mayors of Benham and Lynch both say they're interested in the idea, but they want to find out the best way to connect services. Engineers with Cumberland Valley Area Development are looking into the feasibility of an interconnection. Cumberland's mayor says by joining his city, Benham, and Lynch, water customers could see lower rates.
"Their cost per individual per gallon is higher than us," he said.
But the mayor of Benham and Lynch want to wait to see what the current study shows before making any moves.
That study looking at the feasibility of a Tri-Cities water connection is ongoing. WYMT was not able to reach anyone with Cumberland Valley Area Development, but the mayor of Benham says it is unclear exactly how much it will take to complete.