Here’s your sign … or not

By Bonnie Culverhouse

It’s a sign of the times when signs can no longer be used to let residents know about water issues.

Minden Mayor Nick Cox said up until recently, door hangers were used in cases like the Beech Street water main split last week, however, it’s not considered a safe practice any more.

“If Eric (Lee) and his men are out working on a water main break at 6 o’clock at night, and let’s say everything’s tied back together and working by 11 p.m.,” Cox said, speaking of the city’s water crew, “guess what they have to do? They’ve been out there in 100-degree weather, covered in mud or sewage … whatever. Historically, by practice, they have to go flag every house that was affected.”

Cox pointed out that not everyone is awake at that time and expecting a knock on their doors.

“It’s not practical to walk up to someone’s door at 1 a.m.,” Cox said. “In the past, we’ve had police called on us. There have been times when we’ve walked up to a door in pitch dark, and there’s been a big dog on the porch. We don’t want to put our workers at risk. These are things the citizens don’t really know.”

And door hangers are possibly a waste of time.

“Most people tell us, they may not see a hanger placed on their front door for days,” Cox said. “They use their carport or back doors, and we are not going into someone’s backyard at 1 a.m. for a door hanger, and residents are not going outside at 1 a.m. to check for boil advisories.”

Public Works Director Tyler Wallace said most of the time, the hangers are to inform citizens of a boil advisory after the main has been repaired.

“A boil advisory means there is nothing wrong with the water, but there is a potential for an issue with the water,” Wallace said.

A boil order is different.

“In that case, people should definitely take heed and boil their water, until we tell them differently,” he said.

Cox said the city uses social media and other media outlets to let residents know when there is an issue and when it is resolved.

“People tell us there is a concern about older people who don’t use social media,” he said. “That’s why we use other forms of media. Many people who don’t use Facebook, or whatever, do listen to KASO radio or read the paper.

“It’s not that the city is sitting back trying to determine how we can get out of more work or cut services that are helpful to the citizens,” the mayor added. “The intent is to keep everyone as safe as possible.”