Cumberland water customers encouraged to conserve

The mayor of Cumberland calls it a water emergency! Last week, one of the city's pumps went out, leaving them dependent on the only remaining pump to supply water to all of their customers.

Now there are new concerns about the city's sewage treatment plant. City officials said they need to act fast.

"Everything starts backing up and circulating through the plant," said Gary Duncan, sewage plant operator.

A malfunctioning pump is causing all the trouble.

"It spills out of your whole system and causes you to be out of compliance with the state," said Duncan.

When the pump does not work, it causes the plant to back up and sends water into the river.

That's happened many times before and created problems between the city and the state.

"I guess they could shut us down, if they wanted to, if these problems are not fixed," said Duncan.

Last week another pump went down at the city's water treatment plant. That leaves them without a backup.

"Either one of those pumps going down that's still working would close the water plant down or sewage plant, respectively," said Carl Hatfield, Cumberland Mayor.

Hatfield said the city has to do something, even though they don't have much money.

"Over the years when a piece of equipment failed, rather than replace it - they just got rid of it and bypassed it," said Hatfield.

Hatfield said nearly $500,000 in upgrades are needed, but the city cannot afford to pay that.

They do have a replacement pump headed their way for the water treatment plant and hope to start repairs at the sewage treatment plant to keep it going.

The new pump is expected to be installed on Thursday, but officials said anyone who is on the city of Cumberland's water line needs to conserve until then.

Those short-term repairs to the water and sewage plants will cost upwards of $40,000.

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