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Ga. EPD now sniffing stinky Fayette water

The problem with dirty smelling and tasting drinking water in portions of Peachtree City, Tyrone and the Fayetteville area continued through the past week and is now the subject of outside help from the Ga. Environmental Protection Division (EPD), an outside consultant and the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) working in conjunction with the Fayette County Water system to bring the issues of stinky water to an end and help prevent such an occurrence in the future.

Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson on Friday reiterated that while he cannot provide a precise timeline that will see the end of the affected water running through residential and business water lines, he said the measures being taken and the protocols being set up are expected to help resolve the issue now and in the future.

Rapson said the mid-week contact between EPD and the county was essentially mutual.

“We called them and they called us to ask what was going on,” Rapson said of the condition of the water in some portions of Fayette County that began two weeks ago.

Rapson said he met late this past week with staff from EPD, WASA and the water system at the Crosstown water plant to discuss ideas from EPD that might mitigate the water problem in a more timely fashion. Rapson said he also authorized the hire of consulting firm CH2M HILL to help with the issue.

The timeline that included the potential for the water problem to clear up by the beginning of next week could still be in play though Rapson said he could not be certain. And Rapson on Friday morning said that a number of measures are being taken to both resolve the current problem and to put measures in place to help prevent a similar situation in the future.

Based on suggestions from EPD, Rapson said great strides are being made in addressing current and future issues, though he still has a concern about the residual issues related to the drinking water lagoon and the sludge removal. One of the measures being taken, with the help of WASA on Friday, was to remove the sludge from the drinking water lagoons such as Starr’s Mill Pond and flush it through the sewer system.

Fire departments were called on Wednesday to help purge affected water from the system, with the Peachtree City Fire Dept. flushing 30 water hydrants during the day. Hydrants had been flushed in the affected areas earlier in the week and last week to help clear the stinky water from the hundreds of miles of water lines in Fayette County. The request to cease flushing hydrants came from EPD after the meeting at the Crosstown water plant.

Meantime, Rapson said that the reports of problems with drinking water that totaled 40 calls per day earlier in the week had diminished to 10 calls by mid-day Thursday. Similarly, calls to Fayetteville decreased from 30 per day earlier in the week to less than 10 on Thursday, city officials said.

It was reported Tuesday by Fayette County Water System Assistant Director Russell Ray that water in the Crosstown plant has essentially been replaced though it would likely take several additional days, perhaps until early next week, to have the affected water run through the water system lines and the problem resolved.

Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown on Wednesday announced that the county would be stepping-up its response in purging undesirable water from the system, which was altered through a natural inversion event at Lake Peachtree.

“The bad taste and the odor has continued several days longer than our water experts had anticipated, meaning there was more affected water in the system than they previously thought” said Brown. “We are now committing the county to some more aggressive steps to flush the system at a much higher rate by adding fire personnel to the roster of people tapping our fire hydrants throughout the county.”

Ray on Tuesday provided a detailed explanation for what he said was the cause of the problem that surfaced more than two weeks ago.

“Prior to the taste and odor problem, we were pumping two sources of water to the Crosstown plant — Lake Peachtree and Starr’s Mill (Pond). Lake Peachtree has a history of causing taste and odor in the past, but not in recent years. Starr’s Mill typically has high iron and manganese; however, it may have contributed to the taste and odor problem also,” Ray said.

“Earthy or grassy odors are typically associated with chemical compounds produced by certain types of algae. Algae were seen in Starr’s Mill Pond. We add copper sulfate to Lake Peachtree routinely to keep algae growth to a minimum; however, with the heavy rain events this year, nutrients washed into the streams and lakes may have caused more algae growth than normal. This, along with decaying organic matter from lake mixing caused by temperature changes (reported previously by the water system) are the sources of the taste and odor,” Ray said.



Still no better in Planterra, stinks and black ring in toilette every other day

The second to last sentence is the most telling. "With the heavy rain events this year, nutrients washes into the streams and lakes have caused more algae growth than normal."

The question now is how much bacteria was added yesterday due to the heavy rains, who is monitoring this, and what is being done to protect our drinking water?

Maybe commission would like to drink a few glasses of water for us Thursday evening.

The question should be, if heavy rains cause this problem, why doesn't it happen every time it rains heavily? Remember the huge rainfall in the Autumn of 2009? Was there any associated widespread water stank? The 25 year/24 hour numbers are substantially higher than the "heavy rain events this year" -- and it all happened within 24 hours.

So, if the soil from this historically insignificant "heavy rain event" caused an entire county's water system to stink, what about the soil changed from previous, and decidedly heavier, rainfalls?

I don't recall the rainfall you refer to, but,

This spring our ground is saturated. If it can't hold any more water it run across lawns, dirt, ect..

Springtime is also when many people fertilize. If you fertilize a day or two before the rain, the rain takes it with it as it leaves a property along with pet poop and other animal waste.

I don't know if this is the case, but everything we read plays into it.

[quote=Husband and Father of 2]I don't recall the rainfall you refer to, but,

This spring our ground is saturated. If it can't hold any more water it run across lawns, dirt, ect..

Springtime is also when many people fertilize. If you fertilize a day or two before the rain, the rain takes it with it as it leaves a property along with pet poop and other animal waste.

I don't know if this is the case, but everything we read plays into it.[/quote]

Here is a link that explains the factors that come together for an algal bloom to form. Increase in phosphorus and nitrogen (aka fertilizer), stratification of the water source, water temperature, stagnant flow, oxygen levels, and periods of intermittent sunlight (this has been what I would consider a spring with more overcast days than what would be usual.) Kind of like the perfect storm. One thing that may help to alleviate the problem in the future would be aerating the water source when the oxygen levels have dropped to a certain predetermined amount.

NUK_1's picture

Here's my beef: if the water at the sources of Lake Peachtree and Horton do not smell like what we are getting and taste better, how is it in some way getting stank on the way to our houses? This screams water treatment issue to me, not either of the two lakes that have been talked about.

I'm no expert on water treatment issues besides maintaining a lot of aquariums and seeing the effects when the water system changes anything in their treatment plans, but the water in these lakes is a lot better than what comes out of your tap right now. I don't think it's an algae bloom either that has been a problem in the past in PTC at the various ponds due to their smaller sizes. Those ponds aren't water supplies anyway.

Suggested reading, although tedious, try reading the FC Water Committee meeting minutes (on the county website). go back months. I did a lengthy post on this last week, so long that I'm sure no one read it.

Read about the MIEX Updates in the meeting minutes. This approval process has taken 4 years (or more) according to Tony Parrott and guess who is overseeing this? The DNR. Of which, the Ga. EPD is a division of the DNR. This has to do with upgrading the treatment plants here (Crosstown and one other).

If you want a conspiracy, how about the state bureaucracy has held this up with many delays on approvals and now they are involved directly to get it going, probably because if they don't, the feds will step in. If that is the case, you think they are going to admit the MIEX project (or lack of) has been the reason for inadequate treatment? Also, just in the last couple of months in those minutes, WASA has had to get involved, too. What does that tell you?

NUK_1's picture

I'll take a look at that. I'm not claiming to be an expert at all on this issue, but there is something going on in a major way besides rainfall here or the other BS we've been told.

"aerating the water source when the oxygen levels have dropped to a certain predetermined amount"

Bingo. Throw in (literally) a bucket or two of rotifers and you have the majority of the biological treatment process, otherwise known as "suspense".

Centennial subdivision, The Avenues restaurants, Dividend Dr are all still affected by this HORRIBLE water. I have lived here going on 40 years and have never experienced this before.

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

I believe with the failure of our county water department and lack of leadership in our county commissioners, we should be more demanding of refunds of water usage during this time.

There s probably more behind this "stinky" water then we are being informed of. If not why would EPD get involved?

I hope to see a lawsuit soon against our water department so that we can demand answers and refunds for the poor quality service we currently are receiving from them.

Lets get out and vote for the Right Choice this November. Vote Jolly for Peachtree City Mayor.

Would be nice to have transparent commissioners who let you know the truth on the water.

Perhaps they need a taste themselves. Bring them a cup of the stuff for Thursdays meeting. No bottled stuff for them. Also send them home with 5 gallons and let their wives and children drink it, bathe in it, prepare meals, or wash clothes in it.

NUK_1's picture

which has some really bad water going on for more than 2 weeks. I don't think anything has to really be done to convince him that it's a real problem when he and his family have been dealing with it constantly too.

I think the problem is the FC Water System and it seems to be above their pay grade on how to handle. While I'm not a Brown fan, I do know he'll be all over them until there is some resolution to this issue that has gone on far too long.

Don Haddix's picture

At the Calpis ribbon cutting I sat with the four Commissioners and talked about the Water Department.

They are very aware there have been issues between PTC and the Dept. in the past. They know my views on the Dept. They said things are in the work to change the future so this does not occur again.

PTC suing them is a terrible idea when we are communicating on the issue.

<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Mike King's picture

Sitting with other officials and talking about an issue hasn't worked very well for you over the last five plus years, so exactly what did you bring to the table? It's obvious the four commissioners had no clue as to how to remedy the problem since the commission chair resides in the midst of the stink.
Previous issues between PTC and the Water Department? Perhaps, you would like to explain.
"They said things are in the work to change the future so this does not occur again." I believe you've watched one too many reruns of Back To The Future.

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

Why aren't you in Fayetteville demanding answers???

Why sue the County Water? Because our county commission has stated "NO" to refunds.

Why should the residents of Peachtree City or even Fayette County pay for terrible service?

Talk is fine when you have time, but people & businesses are having to buy bottle water and spend money that they should not have to endure.

It is their responsibility to fix in a hurry and/or have a backup plan. Not to just keep passing the buck.

Also, you as Mayor should be front and center and getting this resolved and ask for the assistance of the city attorney if needed.

If you continue to fail in your responsibilities, you will have to see what happens in November.

Don Haddix's picture

You have no clue on what I have done. In fact, we have met, we are cooperating and there have been discussions about the future.

The dredging of the Lake is being pushed and scheduled for this summer.

Yes, Chairman Brown, who sits on the Water Committee has said no to refunds. That is fully their call and authority. A judge would throw any legal action by us out the door instantly.

I have not failed in office. The changes at the Fred, Tennis Center, Kedron Center and some in Public Works, which were my initiatives and have saved this city over a million a year.

Changes at City Hall and the City structure have resulted in more efficiencies.

Getting projects on the the T-SPLOST list was not a failure. The pro T-SPLOST elements did get me removed from the RTR for not backing the tax. That did not stop me from working with the Director of GDOT to go from no projects for PTC to five with three making the final list.

At the same time I fought the tax and am glad it failed to pass.

Now many of them are no longer in office for what the did?

Now, working with GDOT for traffic relief using Fischer, is not a failure either. It is a solid and beneficial project.

I could go on, but that is enough to say your accusations of failure are nonsense.

Tell us exactly what proposals you bring to the City that are legal and doable? How, exactly do you intend to execute them? Who would have to do them? How are they financed? What is the benefit?

Where are you going to find the time to do the job of Mayor? No Mayor from Lenox on has been able to hold a job and be Mayor. They tried, but had to go Mayor full time. It is a very time consuming job.

Mudslinging is easy. Having a real set of answers with mechanisms to accomplish them is a whole other story.

As for the November threat, neither you or some of the bloggers here speak for the voters. Heard it in 2007 and got 57%. Again in 2009 and got 66%. The voters will speak for themselves in November.

Your turn. What is your plan?


<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Jolly for PTC Mayor's picture

Pay attention and watch the campaign and you will see and hear.

1). Well lets start with the $12,000 you cost taxpayers because when you tell a lie, and are then offered to retract, you cannot man up and just apologized. What could we have done with those funds?

Wanna surprise the city, write us a check for $12,000 and we may forgive you.

2). We will start incorporating maintenance into the city budget (roads and cart paths should have been budgeted after 2005)

3). I have several plans for bringing younger people back to Peachtree City (haven't seen anything from the city to tackle this problem)

4). I am in contact with a well known company to bring the possibility of our community getting the fastest internet possible (at this time)

5). More details of my plans will be released as we get into the August races.

Feel free to send me any question you have.

Jolly "The Right Choice" for Peachtree City Mayor

Don Haddix's picture

Actually, you just said a lot of nothing when you don't give details of "How."

I already have laid out details on my website as to "what, how and why."

Enough for now.


<cite><strong>Don Haddix
Peachtree City Mayor</strong></cite>

Robert W. Morgan's picture

You are right on. A super majority awaits you in the next election. Everything you have done has been a huge help for our city and your's. Your leadership is exemplary. Your accomplishments are way beyond any expectations. Logsdon and Brown were fools and never accomplished anything. Thank you for coming along and getting our city back on track. I doubt we would still be here without your excellent leadership.I will certainly vote for your reelection. Who else could possibly replace you as the leader of our fair city?
Keep it up on Kimmy and Erica - they the fools in the ointment.
You da man, Don!


Ok, I'm back now. I was cleaning out a suitcase I had in the 1970's and picked up what looked like a necco wafer wrapped in a paper towel. Looked good so ingested it and went away for a while and when I got back - I had written the above and no memory of doing it. What do you think happened?

I sort of remember asking for Haddix supporters to speak up, but none did. Maybe I'm channelling them through my drug induced coma. Is it that or is it real?

Live free or die!

Your probably right. And sorry to say, someone may lose their job for this. How much money did the county lose due to no one wanting to go out to eat?

First they have Parrot and Brown explaining the problem than Ray and Rapson. Then they called the EPD the same time the EPD called them? The purging of the lines was a waste (surprising).

We need Erin Brockovich, lol

Is it safe to drink? To bath in? I've been out of touch.


NUK_1's picture

It isn't pleasant at all, but everyone has assured FC that the water is safe to drink and bathe with. Now, whether anyone WANTS to drink the swill is another matter.

SPQR's picture

what are you thinking? a class action against the county. Pray tell what would that resolve?

NUK_1's picture

If we need a moron as Mayor, we can re-elect Haddix. There are alternatives already to either of these two and probably will be more.

Robert W. Morgan's picture

George would be an improvement, Josh would be an improvement, even Vanessa would be an improvement over current, but she's second tier.

No Mr. Jolly, we don't want to sue the county, we just want some water that doesn't smell. Come to think of it - that's want we want for mayor and council as well.

Live free or die!

Well said.

tgarlock's picture

. . . is either to find a parade and jump out front, or to create a boogyman and volunteer to be the solution. We already have experts in both methods in office.

Normally I'm smart enough to not shoot off my mouth saying what I think on these blogs, but you've pulled my trigger using both juvenile methods on the same issue, thereby demonstrating lack of character or experience, or both.

Speculating about wrongdoing at Fayette County Water with zero evidence is not leadership, and I doubt the irritated thirsty public will fall for your offer to lead them out of the wilderness. I think you need some maturing before leading PTC as mayor.

Terry Garlock

Terry Garlock, PTC

Take all of this feedback in a positive manner because bottom line, our current mayor needs to go.
He took taxpayer money and doesn't know how to tell the truth!

We surely don't want him to think he won any ground here. He's idiot!
Just move forward and learn from this.


MajorMike's picture

Mr. Jolly - I do believe that you just stepped in it.

Mike King's picture

All of us directly or indirectly affected by the water issue of late want the matter resolved, and quickly. It's obvious the problem is beyond the capability and expertise of current officials, and it would seem that someone has to step up. Currently, the Fayette County Water System Assistant Director Russell Ray has been the focal point, but could someone explain why the Director(if there is one) has yet to step up and assume responsibility?
This is not the time for political posturing, it's time for decisive action. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!

MajorMike's picture

I would more than a bit concerned and seriously surprised if the big guns had <strong>not</strong> been called in by now.

Just watching's picture

WHY should one keep calling the water dept. same ol', same ol'! Frequent calls and emails have not changed a thing. Tyrone has had bad water for over two weeks and it continues. I saw ONE fire truck flushing that's it!
It is my request that all affected should be receiving a refund to the tune of 5 cases of bottled water.

People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.

Told ya.

Try blowing them off the way you have us.

I don't get it: Everybody knows the water is awful, and we have called in about our own subdivision. Are we supposed to call every day?

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