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Winter weather causes water issues throughout the Black Belt this week

High winds and freezing temperatures settled in over Alabama this week, freezing pipes in homes, businesses, and municipal water systems. Water outages, both planned and otherwise, continue as of press time while cities and counties struggle to respond.

Alabama’s Department of Environmental Management asked residents who were dripping their faucets in order to prevent freezing pipes to stop, citing strain on water systems throughtout the state.

Selma Mayor James Perkins declared a state of emergency in his city due to stress on the water system.

Hale County has set up emergency water stations throughout the area. The following locations are designated water stations: The Volunteer Fire Department in Sawyerville, Bass Tabernacle Church in Sawyerville, St. Paul Baptist Church in Akron, and Williams Chapel Church on County Road 19 in Greensboro.

Residents have claimed long wait times, unclear answers, and delayed responses to water emergencies from the company during the severe weather. As a result, some residents were without proper water or sanitation through the Christmas holidays.

In the meantime, Hale County Probate Judge Arthur Crawford will continue to provide Hale County residents with bottled water while crews continue to work throughout the county to fix the issues. Although, it is still unclear when exactly water supply will be returned to normal.

Marion’s water department announced two planned shutoffs of the city’s water service this week, one for Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and another beginning Wednesday night and continuing through Thursday.

City officials said the planned outages would allow utilities workers time to repair freezing damage from the weather, as well as give the system time to recover from the increase in demand due to customers dripping their faucets in order to head off freezing pipes.

The city announced an emergency water pickup station would be set up on Wednesday at the Berean Baptist Convention Center at 704 Washington Street in Marion to provide bottled water to residents in the meantime.