Georgia EPB Lifts Boil Water Advisory for Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority Customers

LaFayette, GA – A boil water advisory has been lifted for Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) customers, ten days after being issued. However, water use restrictions remain in effect for all WCWSA and City of LaFayette water customers.

A mobile water treatment plant was connected to the Walker County Water Treatment Plant to provide additional filtration to water being distributed to customers. A series of water quality tests were then required before the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) declared the water safe to drink.

“I’ve been very impressed with the WCWSA team, led by Interim General Manager Brandon Whitley and Water Plant Manager Randall Haney. They have worked many long, hard hours to beat the projected timeline of two weeks to have the system back up and running,” said Board Chairman Shannon Whitfield. “Their leadership and teamwork exceeded my expectations.”

The boil water advisory served as a precaution after a routine test on June 29 resulted in a positive E. coli sample from a source well. Testing efforts were increased, and the treated water sent to homes and businesses remained free of the bacteria during the advisory period.

EPD officials believe surface water got into the well. Animal waste in and around ponds, lakes and wetlands can leave E. coli in surface water. Fractures in the ground caused by drought, an earthquake and other geological changes can lead to surface water mixing with well water. Surface water requires a type of filtration the Walker County Water Treatment Plant is not currently capable of treating on its own.

A second mobile water treatment plant will be connected to the system in the days ahead. The second plant will increase the amount of treated water available, boosting the supply in the community. Until that occurs, customers of both the Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority and City of LaFayette are requested to continue following these water conservation guidelines:

  • Outdoor watering of lawns, gardens and trees is limited to a maximum of twice a week(even addresses and sites with no numbered address may water Wednesdays and Saturdays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., while those in odd-numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.)
  • Watering of personal food gardens is allowed any day before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

 

The following activities are not allowed:

  • No washing streets, gutters, sidewalks and driveways
  • No ornamental uses, such as fountains and waterfalls
  • No use of fire hydrants, except for the purpose of firefighting, public health, safety, or flushing
  • No washing vehicles (cars, boats, etc.) at home
  • No non-commercial washing or pressure washing
  • No charity, or non-commercial fundraiser, car washes

“The Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority Board continues to evaluate long-term solutions. We will get this problem solved, failure is not an option,” stated Chairman Whitfield.

Boil Water Advisory Lifted for LaFayette Water Customers

LaFayette, GA – A boil water advisory has been lifted for City of LaFayette water customers only, however the advisory remains in effect for Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) customers within the previously designated area. In addition, water use restrictions remain in effect for all City of LaFayette and WCWSA customers.

“It has taken several days to stabilize the system and pull and test samples to ensure there are no issues,” said David Hamilton, LaFayette City Manager. “Thank you for your patience while we worked through this challenge and please continue to conserve water to help keep demand lower in line with supply.”

The City of LaFayette disconnected from the WCWSA system on Friday, June 30th, a day after a source well tested positive for E. coli. There have been no positive samples from treated water distributed to customers from this source well. The treated water is being tested twice a day.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) officials believe surface water and/or storm water mixed with the well. Once well water has been influenced by surface water, it requires a type of filtration the Walker County Water Treatment Plant is not currently capable of treating.

While several short and long term solutions continue to be explored, a mobile water treatment system capable of filtering surface water is being trucked in. It will take a number of days to connect the portable system to the Walker County Water Treatment Plant. Additional time will be required to bring it online, flush lines and allow EPD to take samples and conduct tests. Officials continue to target a workable solution within the original 14 day timetable.

Since the quantity of water may be impacted by these solutions, all Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority and City of LaFayette water customers remain under the following water conservation guidelines:

  • Outdoor watering of lawns, gardens and trees is limited to a maximum of twice a week(even addresses and sites with no numbered address may water Wednesdays and Saturdays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., while those in odd-numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.)
  • Watering of personal food gardens is allowed any day before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

 

The following activities are not allowed:

  • No washing streets, gutters, sidewalks and driveways
  • No ornamental uses, such as fountains and waterfalls
  • No use of fire hydrants, except for the purpose of firefighting, public health, safety, or flushing
  • No washing vehicles (cars, boats, etc.) at home
  • No non-commercial washing or pressure washing
  • No charity, or non-commercial fundraiser, car washes

 

Additional information:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offered these facts about what to do during a boil water advisory:

  • Use boiled water to prepare drinks, even coffee. Most household coffee makers do not reach a temperature hot enough to remove bacteria
  • Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers or ice makers unless the water was boiled first or made with bottled water
  • Most kitchen and household water filters do not remove bacteria or viruses
  • Consider giving babies and young children a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water
  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water
  • Household dishwashers are generally safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle
  • It is safe to do laundry as usual
  • Pets should also get boiled or bottled water to drink
  • Georgia EPD suggests large animals should be ok, since many already encounter natural organic contaminates when drinking from creeks, ponds and lakes.

Boil Water Advisory Issued as a Precaution for Some Walker County Residents

LaFayette, GA – As a precaution, a boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice for certain areas of Walker County. On June 29, a routine inspection of the Walker County Water Treatment plant resulted in a positive E. coli sample from a source well, prior to treatment.

The boil water advisory only affects a portion of Walker County. Water from the well is used to service about 5,900 homes and businesses in the Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) and City of LaFayette districts. The advisory area excludes anyone receiving water from Tennessee American, City of Chickamauga Water System, Walker County Rural Water, Dade County Water, Chattooga County Water, Dalton Utilities, Catoosa County Utility District and City of Fort Oglethorpe Water.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) officials believe surface water and/or storm water mixed with the well. A combination of the recent drought, geological changes and the wet spring may be to blame.

Out of an abundance of caution, testing efforts have been increased and there have been no positive samples from the treated water distributed to customers. Surface water requires a type of filtration the plant is not currently capable of treating.

WCWSA Board members and employees met with EPD officials today to evaluate short and long-term solutions. EPD agreed to expedite review of those plans, which include a portable filtration plant. Officials hope to have a solution in place within 14 days.

Since some of the proposed solutions would impact the available quantity of water in Walker County, Sole Commissioner and WCWSA Board Chair Shannon Whitfield and David Hamilton, LaFayette City Manager, issued a temporary water conservation declaration.

The following guidelines take effect immediately for all Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority and City of LaFayette water customers:

  • Outdoor watering of lawns, gardens and trees is limited to a maximum of twice a week(even addresses and sites with no numbered address may water Wednesdays and Saturdays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m., while those in odd-numbered addresses may water on Thursdays and Sundays before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.)
  • Watering of personal food gardens is allowed any day before 10:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m.

 

The following activities are not allowed:

  • No washing streets, gutters, sidewalks and driveways
  • No ornamental uses, such as fountains and waterfalls
  • No use of fire hydrants, except for the purpose of firefighting, public health, safety, or flushing
  • No washing vehicles (cars, boats, etc.) at home
  • No non-commercial washing or pressure washing
  • No charity, or non-commercial fundraiser, car washes

 

Additional information:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also offered these facts about what to do during a boil water advisory:

  • Use boiled water to prepare drinks, even coffee. Most household coffee makers do not reach a temperature hot enough to remove bacteria
  • Do not use ice from ice trays, ice dispensers or ice makers unless the water was boiled first or made with bottled water
  • Most kitchen and household water filters do not remove bacteria or viruses
  • Consider giving babies and young children a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water
  • Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water
  • Household dishwashers are generally safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees or if the dishwasher has a sanitizing cycle
  • It is safe to do laundry as usual
  • Pets should also get boiled or bottled water to drink

Walker County Partners with First Volunteer Bank on Loan to Cover Expenses

LaFayette, GA – Walker County Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield signed a resolution today to borrow $4 million through a Tax Anticipation Note (TAN) from First Volunteer Bank of LaFayette.

The previous administration left Walker County over $70 million in debt and with very little cash on hand. The loan will cover the finances needed to fully fund the county’s monthly operational expenses for the remainder of this calendar year.

Commissioner Whitfield originally projected in January 2017 that Walker County would need to borrow $8 million to get through the 2017 calendar year. This loan, along with a loan acquired in January, will meet those cash flow projections.

“Already this year, we’ve saved the county $1.6 million through some changes in our workforce and by becoming more efficient in managing county government,” said Commissioner Whitfield. “While it will take years to unburden Walker County from the financial mistakes of the past, I’m encouraged by the new willingness of the local banking community to work with us on our cash flow needs.”

Whitfield added, “First Volunteer Bank should be commended for their commitment to Walker County’s future. It has been a great experience working with Elijah Parker, Vice President Market Leader, Mark Kleiner, Vice President Commercial Banking, and Ron Jones, Commercial Bank Executive at First Volunteer Bank. They were willing to take the time to review the financial hurdles we face, but more importantly understand the financial progress we have made in the last six months. These guys stepping up with this $4 million loan supports our community, keeps our banking needs local and helps us continue to move Walker County forward!”

Walker County sought a local lender for this loan because the interest paid would support local jobs and businesses. First Volunteer Bank will charge a 3.25% interest rate on the TAN. The balance must be repaid by December 30, 2017.

First Volunteer Bank operates 24 branches in Tennessee and Northwest Georgia. The bank acquired the LaFayette location in 2012, as part of the Gateway Bank & Trust purchase. This marks the company’s first business relationship with Walker County government.

Work Begins to Address Aging Infrastructure & Stormwater Infiltration in Walker County

Flintstone, GA – Advancements in sewer pipe technology will be used to rehabilitate aging infrastructure in the Chattanooga Valley area of Walker County. The Walker County Water & Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) has contracted with Insituform, an Aegion Company, to combat millions of gallons of stormwater infiltrating its system.

The $297,000 project will renew and extend the life of 11,000 feet of sewer line, using a cured in place pipe (CIPP) system. Crews will pull a resin-saturated, coated tube through damaged pipe and heat it to form a tight-fitting replacement pipe. The process, which is similar to turning a sock inside out, is designed to extend the life span of the pipe by 50 years.

“This is amazing technology and will only take a few days to complete each section, versus digging up the roads, which would cost over $100 per foot and take months to complete. The new WCWSA Board that started in January has some major hurdles to overcome with the large amounts of stormwater infiltration that has been neglected for years,” stated Shannon Whitfield, WCWSA Board Chairman. “103 million gallons of stormwater flowed into our sewer system in April. We are moving quickly and making a smart investment using this technology to solve these infiltration problems.”

This project will take just a matter of weeks to complete and will significantly reduce the inconvenience to homeowners caused by a traditional repair. Although crews may need to place large equipment in residential driveways, work will be done at the street level, so they won’t be forced to dig up yards.

Crews will begin work by cleaning lines and then return in a couple of days to reconstruct the sewer pipe using the CIPP system. Brandon Whitley, WCWSA Interim General Manager, will oversee the process, just days after being promoted to his new role.

Homeowners and motorists should be advised that work will take place in the following areas:

Chattanooga Valley Road 

Rock Creek Road

Grant Drive

Bluffview Circle

Allgood Road

Eagle Shadow

Japonica Street

Faith-based Service Group Joins Mission to Clean Up Walker County

Rossville, GA – Hundreds of students from a nearby state will have the ultimate story to tell when they’re asked how they spent their summer. They’re joining forces with P52, a local faith-based service organization, on a mission to improve the lives of Walker County residents.

Students will arrive in several waves to tackle projects like painting, cutting grass and disposing of garbage and junk. Chris Robinson, Director and Founder of P52, coordinated with Walker County Codes Enforcement to identify residents in need of a helping hand to comply with local property standards.

Robinson said, “This provides a conduit where we can build relationships with both believers and unbelievers as we serve them. As a local pastor, I’ve participated in overseas mission trips, but mission is right here in our backyard.”

In April, Walker County refocused efforts to bring property up to code throughout the county. Codes Enforcement Officers found 219 violations in April and 318 in May, a 974% increase over the same two month period a year ago. Codes Enforcement Director David Brown said, “We’re taking an open-minded approach to get everyone on the same page. We understand some people didn’t know these rules existed, even though they’ve been on the books for years. If they can show us they’re willing to make progress, we’re willing to hold off on issuing fines.”

In August, P52 will also coordinate with Covenant College and Walker County on a day of service for incoming freshman. P52 got its name from Isaiah 52:7, as a way to glorify God through service.