ONSLOW COUNTY, N.C. (WNCT)–Jacksonville Water and the Onslow County Water and Sewer Authority are the first water utilities in our state to head to Florida after that state called for emergency assistance in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
Three employees from each utility loaded up materials, equipment and supplies before rolling out on Friday.
“They’ll be repairing the water mains and some people will be resetting the surfaces,” Pete Deaver, Jacksonville’s utility maintenance superintendent, said. “We received assistance when we needed it. They need assistance now. We’re going to go help.”
Florida requested mutual aid through the NC Water WARN network with repairing coastal water lines.
“Florida reported there’s no potable water for their citizens,” Jeff Hudson, executive director of ONWASA, said. “There is no clean water to drink and no clean water for fighting fires.”
Crews from Onslow County were chosen because of their experience working in coastal conditions.
Matt Marshburn volunteered to go.
“That’s a big deal when you don’t have clean drinking water,” he said. “Water is a pretty vital part of life, so I felt like it was really important for someone to step up and try to get their lives put back together.”
Crews packed water, tents, and MRE’s for their trip.
Crews gathered at Jacksonville Water’s headquarters and later said a prayer for safe travels.
The state of North Carolina will be reimbursed for time and resources through FEMA funding.
The trip each way will take about two days and crews will stay on the ground a total of ten.