ONDBEAT: Defunct tank a towering issue in Carolina Shores

It stands yay-high alongside the pine trees on a plot of property fronting Country Club Drive.

The Carolina Shores man on the other end of the line said the once-active water tank erected decades ago by Carolina Blythe Utility Co. could have been a big help in the wake of the impromptu Aug. 8 water shutoff that occurred after a 24-inch water main broke in Shallotte, affecting scores of customers, especially those south of the “massive disruption” line.

Unfortunately, the tank hasn’t held water and has been defunct for the past decade or more, with no indication that’s ever going to change.

Town Commissioner Gere Dale, in fact, says the old reservoir probably needs to come down but for an unknown price, no doubt.

When the main Carolina Shores community launched in the 1970s, it seemed like utopia with its own “golf course, pro shop, tennis courts and pool; the lots had water, sewers and other utilities already in,” reads a historical account on the Carolina Shores POA website.

“These advantages, however, led to the developers’ downfall. The ‘up front’ costs buried them. The single most expensive aspect of the Carolina Shores community was the multi-million-dollar waste treatment and water system facility. The proximity of shell-fishing areas forced the designing of the plant so that it discharged nothing into adjacent bodies of water. The end product was almost as pure as drinking water.”

Now, following foreclosure of the fledgling development and a succession of ownership and management over the years, the utility system, including the water tower, ultimately belongs to Brunswick County.

Brunswick County Utilities Director John Nichols said the reason the county doesn’t use the tank is because it’s not the proper elevation, so water can’t be drawn from it on a normal basis and there would be water quality issues.

He said it has potential for holding reclaimed water or perhaps could be moved. The county has to have a program for it, which it doesn’t have at present.

Nichols hasn’t heard any complaints about the tower not being clean, which he said could probably be dealt with. If the tower comes down, he said there’s no longer the option of using it.

Dale thinks the land on which the tower and the little station buildings next to it stand has potential for a park.

In the meantime, the future of the old tower has recently been a hot online topic among residents logging into their community webpage at Nextdoor.com.

“The water tower is the ugliest and filthiest one I have ever seen,” wrote resident Ron Floor, who recently drove from Carolina Shores to New Jersey.

“I hit Virginia Beach and from there on North I looked at every water tower along the way,” Floor wrote. “They each looked like something on a postcard welcoming me to their towns.”

He said he has provided information at town meetings about cleaning up the Carolina Shores water tower, which doesn’t look so spiffy with its dark smatterings of what appears to be mold and/or mildew.

Floor has also suggested leasing out the tower for a cellular antenna, in exchange for a good power-washing or paint job. 

“I have read many posts and threads about our poor cell phone coverage,” Floor wrote. “It’s only going to get worse. The town’s population is now over 4,000 and growing.”

The trees are growing taller, which only makes the water tower look smaller.

After Hurricane Matthew last October, Floor believes “it has become more and more obvious that we can utilize it to our advantage to keep with the times and have our own greeting card welcoming friends, family and anyone else” passing through town.

Now, these are some ideas floating around out there for the old tank that just might hold water.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.