City without water

By Laura Ann Sills - email

Thomaston, GA (WTVM) - Bottled water is flying off the shelves in Thomaston, GA.  Residents were alerted that the city did not meet treatment requirements and they needed to boil their water until further notice.  Most residents spent the day without water.

One Thomaston resident claims that no officials are talking, "Nobody said what the problem was. If we knew what the problem was we probably feel a little easier, but no body's saying anything," says Michelle Gayler.

Officials tell News Leader Nine that the problem is the turbidity level. Simply that means the water is cloudy.  A notice sent to residents said the samples taken on February 17, 2010 were ten times cloudier than normal.  This leaves room for bacteria to grow.

All residents were advised to boil their drinking water until further notice. This left many feeling uneasy, "It's scary, that's the word, every body's scared," said Jean Harris.  Harris, like many other residents, was stocking up on bottled water.

The City tells News Leader Nine that it warned residents the water would be shut off.  They were hoping to have the problem fixed early morning but, Southwest Water Company was not able to recover from the issue.  This left individual homes, the hospital and schools high and dry.

Gayler said, "I went out and spent 35 dollars on water last night so we would have the ability to flush our toilets and be able to have drinking water."

Students in Thomaston reported to school just to be let out at 11:30 because the toilets would not flush and there was no drinking water.  The hospital used bottled water.

Most residents' water was back on mid-afternoon.  The hospital also reported having water.

Now, residents are complaining about the pressure.  Officials say it will take time to build that pressure back up.

The city isn't taking any chances in this case; they are bringing in their own engineers to make sure the problem is fixed.  "We are planning to have two different evaluations in addition to the EPD recommendation and we're going to make sure that we are on top of this and this kind of issue doesn't happen again," says Patrick Comiskey, City Manager.

The boil notice will stay in effect until the water test results come back.  Officials say this could take a day or two.  The turbidity level must have dropped back to normal, below 0.3 units.

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