Days of stinky water ending?


Calls about stinky drinking water from areas of Fayette County have diminished significantly and there is a noticeable improvement in the condition of the water, according to Fayette County officials.

Fayette County Administrator Steve Rapson on Tuesday said there is a noticeable improvement in the condition of the water. Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown also weighed in, saying the number of calls about foul smelling and tasting water have diminished significantly.

Rapson said the current belief is that the source of the problem was likely the Starr’s Mill Pond (sometimes called the lagoon) associated with the Crosstown Treatment Plant (WTP) and not the Lake Peachtree reservoir.

Fayette County officials last week brought in consultant CH2M HILL, the Ga. Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the Peachtree City Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) working in conjunction with the Fayette County Water system, to solve the problem.

Rapson said CH2M HILL Regional Technology Manager Stuart Jeffcoat recommended the measures that either have been implemented or are being implemented. Those measures include:

• Continue use of only Lake Peachtree as the primary source for the Crosstown WTP

• No longer use the raw water stored in the reservoir at the Crosstown WTP and obtain a temporary permit from EPD to discharge the contents of this reservoir to begin to re-fill it from Lake Peachtree and/or Lake Horton.

• Continue draining the 4 million gallon clearwell (that holds potable water) at the Crosstown WTP to begin to filling the clearwell with “good” water and the try to use all of the “bad” water in the 2 million gallon clearwell for filter backwashes so the clearwell can be refilled with “good” water

• Eliminate the recycle of decant water (water separated from sludge) from the backwash water lagoon at the WTP

• Continue flushing in areas of the distribution system with foul water to expedite the purging of the overall distribution system

• Continue feeding of higher dosages of powdered activated carbon prior to the filters to adsorb taste and odor causing compounds from the water prior to distribution

• Sampling of Lake Peachtree, Lake Horton, Starr’s Mill Pond, Lake McIntosh, and the raw water storage reservoir at the WTP to identify significant algal blooms to take place mid-week of this week

Rapson was asked whether the problems with Fayette’s drinking water might have a negative economic impact or negatively influence potential business prospects affiliated with the movie and television industry. Rapson said he doubted that such would be the case.

“There is the concern that being branded as having ‘stinky water’ could impact economic development. However, we believe that this was an isolated occurrence in regards to the severity of the taste and odor issues that we have experienced over the past several weeks. All water systems must combat taste and odor issues seasonally, so this is not unique to Fayette County. However, the severity of this particular occurrence has heightened our awareness of the need to implement specific treatment process modifications to mitigate the future occurrence of taste and odor episodes of this magnitude,” Rapson said.

“We are working in partnership with the state regulatory agency and a nationally recognized engineering firm to help us improve our treatment process at the Crosstown WTP. We are identifying operational actions that will prevent future taste and odor episodes so there will not be any future economic ramifications, so Fayette County will not be known as having ‘stinky water’ moving forward,” Rapson said.

The resolution to the weeks-long problem is said to be in the process of being accomplished with the implementation of a number of measures designed to eliminate the dirty tasting and smelling drinking water and to prevent a reoccurrence.

Complaints from portions of Peachtree City, Tyrone and the Fayetteville area began coming in nearly three weeks ago in response to finding what was described as “pond water” flowing from faucets in homes and businesses. The Fayette County Water System responded to the complaints, blaming a combination of temperature changes in Lake Peachtree combined with heavy rains and the growth of algae.