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Rapson: Water fixes 38% done

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has again pushed back the deadline for Fayette County’s response to a sanitary survey that found multiple deficiencies and 10 violations of Georgia’s safe drinking water rules in a June inspection of the Fayette County Water System.

The county’s response is now due Sept. 27, County Administrator Steve Rapson told the County Commission last week.

“Through today we have fixed 38 percent of the deficiencies in that report,” Rapson told the commission Thursday night, adding that the county was working “to get things corrected as quickly as we can.”

Last week, Rapson announced the demotion of water system Director Tony Parrott, saying Parrott was not moving quickly enough on the items outlined in an employee improvement plan that was enacted when Parrott was first disciplined with two weeks of unpaid leave for the weeks-long taste and odor problems that plagued the water system in the spring.

Parrott would later admit to EPD investigators that he guessed at the cause of the odor and taste problem, which EPD chalked up to poor operations at the Crosstown water treatment plant, particularly in the recycling of water that had been used to clean the plant’s filters. The foul water caused severe inconveniences for county residents as well as local restaurants, many of which resorted to serving bottled water until the problem was ultimately resolved.

One of the immediate remedies required by EPD was the removal of sludge at several holding ponds at the Crosstown plant.

Rapson has also ordered that all water system employees be re-trained based on the current position they are filling.

The EPD report from the sanitary survey was notable in large part because it recommended a state-level investigation into Parrott and four other employees to determine if they “practiced fraud or deception,” or perhaps instead were “incompetent or unable to perform their duties properly.” That investigation would be undertaken by the Georgia Secretary of State’s office and also the State Board of Examiners for Certification of Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators and Laboratory Analysts.

Among the rule violations listed by the EPD include:

• Failure to provide daily continuous disinfectant residual readings for the last three years;

• Failure to employ a Class I Water Operator to be the official in charge of day to day operations of the Crosstown and South Fayette water plants;

• Failure to record the results of individual filter monitoring every 15 minutes; the turbidimeters at the Crosstown plant were not calibrated between February and October 2012 though they are required to be conducted quarterly;

• Failure of the continuous turbidity monitoring equipment, specifically at filter no. 5 at the Crosstown plant which was out for more than five days “and the water plant personnel were unaware this situation existed until it was brought to their attention. The monthly operating report did not indicate a problem with any of the filters,” which is also a reporting violation; and

• Failure to properly conduct analysis of the daily concentration of chlorite due to the improper use of a particular gas used in the process.



John Mrosek's picture

Ah, yes….”TURBIDITY”…..I know most of you are too busy with other important things like will Auburn maybe, actually win a second SEC game. Hey, didn’t mean to interrupt your important schedule with something like our drinking water.

And the systemic connection between OUR (County and PTC) neglect of stormwater maintenance….

One of the violations: “ … Failure of the continuous turbidity monitoring equipment.”

Turbidity is defined by Wikipedia:

"Turbidity is the cloudiness or haziness of a fluid caused by individual particles (suspended solids) that are generally invisible to the naked eye, similar to smoke in air. . .The measurement of turbidity is a key test of water quality. Human activities that disturb land, such as construction, mining and agriculture, can lead to high sediment levels entering water bodies during rain storms due to storm water runoff. Areas prone to high bank erosion rates as well as urbanized areas also contribute large amounts of turbidity to nearby waters, through stormwater pollution from paved surfaces such as roads, bridges and parking lots…

In drinking water, the higher the turbidity level, the higher the risk that people may develop gastrointestinal diseases.[citation needed][3] This is especially problematic for immunocompromised people, because contaminants like viruses or bacteria can become attached to the suspended solid. The suspended solids interfere with water disinfection with chlorine because the particles act as shields for the virus and bacteria. Similarly, suspended solids can protect bacteria from ultraviolet (UV) sterilization of water."

Sorry, folks, but these whole issues of our DRINKING WATER are about to be swept under the carpet after we pay hundreds of thousands in new “tests” and new “studies”.


Rapson is trying his best to put the best spin on these issues and must be pulling every favor to delay responding to the EPD while the county lawyers pour over the documents.

Personally, I think we need to push for the state investigation while the issues are still being addressed. Not after they wiped the crime scene clean.

Thats what i am trying to do. The backflow and cross connection controll program is in worse shape than the plants are. Look on the epd website and search it. Fayette co doesnt have any of the the devices to completly stop backflow. Thats why there was antifreeze in the water in 2007! And things like that may have happened again.

Isn't the designer/engineer also on the water board?

Nice to have people covering their own butts.

and procedures are now on their web page on the county website. Click on the link below and scroll down to see them.

A week from tonight at the BOC meeting, staff is going give their recommendation to the BOC on the new engineering firm contract.

I actually printed this site yesterday along with all of the meeting minutes this year. I thought something was different, but couldn't put my finger on it. I now realize the transparent commission didn't recognize this change. Wonder why?

Still don't agree with the format/procedures.

Put your thoughts in writing to Mr. Rapson. I am sure he is looking for any way to improve things right about now. Some changes are not too difficult to accomplish with input from the public. If anyone would know the current system isn't working, he would be the one!

Kind of tired of the old ways of doing things.

If the county officials now want to grow leaps and bounds, they need to learn to manage properly.

What were the changes? I have never seen the proceedures before.

County website said they had to cancel meeting due to lack of quorum.

Aint that convenient.

Guess they don't think its important enough to meet.

Double check, please. Where is it cancelled?

I think it was posted today

Not where I usually look for them. Thank you.

Really stand behind less government.

Too bad we really deserve better than this.

The county website this morning posts that the water dept found the needed quorum for the Wed meeting.

can find an agenda they might just have a meeting.

I think since they were kind enough to meet given the meetings were scheduled the first of the year, they can just use last meetings agenda. How much new updates can they really share with us? lol

It's only water.

Yes he was. I worked in the office for over 10 years and the owner of the engineering co visited at least every week and it wasnt meetings. It seemed to me to be social! I felt back then something was up. Funny i had to get three bids to purchase a pair of channel locks but we had the same engineer for ove 25 years!

Yes he was. I worked in the office for over 10 years and the owner of the engineering co visited at least every week and it wasnt meetings. It seemed to me to be social! I felt back then something was up. Funny i had to get three bids to purchase a pair of channel locks but we had the same engineer for ove 25 years!

I like you! You are right! And backlow protection is important as well. There is not one rpz in this county. Not even at the sewage treatment plant in ptc.

I wish i had your email. You seem to have a lot of knowledge of water treatment. I am trying to make people understand the importance of backflow prevention. It as much if not more dangerous than the treatment plants. I seen it first hand. Antifreeze in the watermain at the airport in ptc across from the national weather service. And parrot never notified anyone. I tried and ended up getting terminated because of it. I was employed for over 20 years there.

Come on now. You could have done that yourself. If I can do it, anyone can.

Ya'know, when you're a coupla sandwiches short of a picnic, things just aint so easy!


Just labeling yourself with "ex" in the front of your name just kinda defines you in a not so bright light at times, too.

But then again, I'm just a buncha stooges, so what do I know.:)

Sorry i only have my cell to get on the internet. And my eyes are not that good anymore. Thanks for sending that. Harder to write a text from my phone than a comp.

And I do agree on the cell phone. Fat fingers don't help either.

I sure have fat thumbs! And i hate touch screens. All i want is for the people concerned about the water to look a little futher than the plants. I have had a state cert since 1992 on backflow prevention and cross connection controll. The county has devices at the street to keep water from getting back into the system but they have the wrong ones for places like the hospital, sewage treatment plant, and any place that have chem. Bad things can easily get back into the water when the presure drops in the water main due opening a fire hydrant, a drop in the water in the water tanks. I saw it first hand! Look on the epd website and serch backflow prevention and it explains it much better. People have died because of backflow. Not in fayette yet that i know of but who knows because when its found nobody reports the backflow. Parrot covered it up!

NUK_1's picture

That's a lot better :) Remember, if you do in fact pursue anything legally against the County/Water Dept/whomever, the opposing side WILL link you up to these posts you have made here, even though you aren't using your real name. They aren't stupid and will figure out who exactly you are pretty quickly if there is a legal suit they are having to fight. So.... be careful what you say and how you say it! Probably the less the better....don't give them any inadvertent help.

Just a name on here. I am a ex employee with fay co water. I was fired for going over parrots head about the problems. And just like now they try to cover things up. But back then epd wasnt involved. I just care about the health of the people in this county and i do belive antifreeze will affect your health. Sorry if you think i am not so bright maybe i am not. But typing on my phone is not as easy as a comp. I am on your side sorry u feel the need to make bad comments about me!

No pity party on here, please. Lighten up and let me throw in a little humor once in a while. Look at who you are talking to...stooges!

Seriously, your message gets lost with the misspellings. I read and take note of what you are saying...if I can decipher it.

What's your opinion on the Splost?

John Mrosek's picture

My main concern is prioritization. Have the cities and county done this is a scientific, reliable fashion ? Are they really seeking compliance or simply "window dressing" ?

Based upon what I have seen, the county placed items in order of priority, but they failed to explain what each project is supposed to accomplish other than repair an unsightly condition.

Mr. Chase is correct. The presentation had a nice shiny binder and lots of colorful photos, but no substance or goal.

And even though this may benefit me in PTC for road and path repairs, I will punt on this splost.

I am pretty sure county commission will be ready with a new plan should this initiative fail. And I am sure PTC's new council will be ready to dive into this, once the elections are over.

As this story unfolds, it is a wonder we are not all sick. So much for the "terrorists will attack our water supplies" threat. We have done a darn good job all on our own.

I know... This really isn't funny. I would concur we need a the most rigorous investigation/intervention possible here.


They dont have a clue on how to keep the water safe. A terrorist could easly put bad stuff in our water and it wouldnt be through the plants or reservors. Most of the things they did on 9/11 was for show. God help us!





Looks like CH2M Hill is the recommendation for engineer for Water System.

They have a new CEO being promoted starting Jan. 1st. SHE will make sure we have no more stinky or brown water. Women hate that crap.

Looks like the two lagoons dredging project at Crosstown Plant was stopped and put out to bid.

Allsouth Environmental was billing at a rate of what would have been close to a half million buckeroos. That's $500,000. Not good.

New contractor recommendation? Gullett Sanitation Services for $165,000. Potential savings to county? $305,000.

Two bids came in at over $400,000., and two bids came in at under $200,000., one of those being Gullett.

I doubt the new CEO will be making a visit to FC to sample our drinking water. She has much bigger fish to fry.

I do have a couple of questions for commission.

The dredging of the lagoons is a new line item that was not budgeted (understandably). We are transferring funds from an account called "Renewal and Extension". What is this? And what will we have to do without from this account?

The bid tally sheet is provided as part of the package (good), but if I were on commission, I would want to know the following: a. What identified Gullett as having the best understanding of the project?. b. If Gullett had the best understanding, why did two others score better on the approach? c. What are the team qualifications and experience?

Have no real problem with the selection, but I would want to know who approved the technical merit items since these items are subjective and we haven't had top notch oversight in quite a while. Would also like to know who on staff would be responsible for managing this work and how much time this project is projected to take.

As for the system engineer, I have no problem with CH2M Hill. The county agenda request simply states that 9 proposals were received, 3 were shortlisted and the unanimous selection was CH2M Hill. Nowhere does it state why they were graded highly, nor the cost. I suspect that costs did not drive this issue (nor should it at this point), but a short breakdown would be nice to see what type of premium we may be paying for the Cadillac. Some (not me however) might even question the selection based on Mr. Rapsons past and possible future affiliation with this firm.

tortugaocho's picture

Husband and Father raises a good point: "Some (not me however) might even question the selection based on Mr. Rapsons past and possible future affiliation with this firm."

Water and air pollution laws create a lot of jobs and a lot of money changing hands. Taxes go up. Governments spend (or are supposed to spend) lots of money. The real money, though, is made by representing the polluters and keeping them just shy of getting spanked in court. Classic example was Harold Reheis, the reluctant EPD director, who ("POOF" [like magic]) left EPD to work for a polluter. Tree huggers do not make money. Polluters skirting the issues have the money to burn and that includes local governments.

tortugaocho's picture

There are a few "Matthew Crums", in government regulating the polluters, but they usually get fired. The real money lies in supporting, protecting and coddling the polluters. In this case, the polluter is Fayette County, which has slowly but surely released toxins, over time, in to our drinking water.

I don't question CH2M Hill. They have the resources to help us if we are assigned the right person.

We would be smart to include a caveat in the contract that should the person presented be pulled from our account, we have the right to select the next person or can void the contract. Don't want the old bait and switch many large firms pull.

What I question is the transparency of the selection. The county agenda request does not provide any details. How did CH2M Hills cost proposal compare to others? What subjective items made them the unanimous choice? If commission want to be transparent, then they need to provide this information.

CH2M Hill is a very large firm that provides free market government services. Not saying anything is not on the up and up, but our county administrator does have a history with the firm and may one day end up back with them as an employee or consultant, later in his career. Just saying if commission want to be beyond approach, they would at least ask for this added information before rubber stamping.

The Metro section of the AJC has an article on a FC Ethics meeting being held on Wed, but nothing on the FC website.

Do they expect citizens to purchase every newspaper to know whats going on or was this on purpose?

Don't think this is a meeting where the public participates--just the committee,which is a subset of the BOC. I doubt that anyone would object should you elect to attend and observe. Then you could give us all a first-hand next day report of what transpired!

How does the AJC get this info but its not posted on our own website. Guess good ole Rapsons too busy at the water dept to manage staff, lol

That would be a negative. Hard at work in Boston with Pennington and other assorted folk would be more accurate. However, I would assume he still maintains control back at the lagoons.

The yellow paper (doesn't yellow cost more than basic white?) violation notice that came today kind of ended on a sad note. No signature anymore, just a few teardrops at the end of the whole missive.

The paragraph of note? "In 2005, the water system began studying ways to treat the total organic carbon (TOC) in our water reservoirs........."

Hmm, now is that in human years or dog years or parrot years? Man, I don't even have britches that old.

Last but not least, the very curious wording of, "Please know this violation does not pose a threat to the quality of the water supplied". Golly, seems since TP and others did not have a CLUE where that water was coming from, there might just be a little fibbing going there me thinks.

Could be worse. At least we don't live in that swill in Mexico right now. Or Boulder.

You seek every opportunity to criticize our local government. Why not get out there and compete in an election--or are you all keyboard cowboy and no nads?

In the mean time, I am heavily involved in the community. I coach youth sports, involved in scouts, and have past duties with school functions. I have already met with the new school supt and offered my services. In addition, I represent my company on two charity boards and 2 trade associations.

Timing is not right due to my special needs kid who requires specialists at CHOA downtown twice a month (usually Thurs). When we have these issues taken care of, I will run for a local position.

I might not be the brightest crayon in the box, but somehow I got my boss convinced I am an asset. Guess the hard work, consistent profits, repeat and new clients help too, lol.

Posting meetings on a website should be a simple thing to do. Why is it, that we have to look at multiple publications to keep up. Our leaders promised transparency. They need to be advised when there are failures in communication so they can fix it. Sorry if that offends you.

Even though the commissioners don't post as often as they do while they campaign or push an agenda, they do read these blogs.

Certainly, I am happy they addressed my concern.

Have a wonderful day.

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