VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) – A boil water advisory is in effect for all city water customers. Officials say this could be the case for the next couple of days.
That advisory was issued Saturday morning following a power failure at the City of Valdosta Water Treatment Plant. At a press conference, officials said the power outage started around 12:30 Saturday morning. Generators were online, but they believe a switch gear prevented the plant from powering back up.
The power has now been restored to the plant with a temporary bypass line. "We have two high service pumps and low service pumps that are starting to gear up right now that will start increasing pressure through the system it will gradually rise through the night," said Henry Hicks, the Valdosta utilities director. "We have two more emergency generators and wells that will be installed and turned on momentarily that will also give us the raw water coming in the plant to pump out through the system."
The system will have to be flushed and have bacterial testing done.
Although city officials says water has been fully restored to its customers, they recommend boiling drinking water for at least one minute then letting it cool until further notice.
Some Valdosta residents woke up to no running water Saturday morning, and while that can be frustrating, it's especially challenging for businesses. Some had to bring in porta johns to keep their doors open and several restaurants couldn't open this morning. It's even affected hospitals and it sent several folks to the store to buy bottled water.
"Due to the current water situation in Valdosta, all restaurants are temporarily closed," said Justin Cook, who was helping his dad alert customers about Chik-Fila being closed. "We're sorry for the inconvenience."
That's the phrase many customers are hearing after the power failure at the water plant that's caused businesses and residents to not have consumable water.
"We don't miss it until it runs out," said Don Pettigrew. "It's unfortunate but surely they'll get it fixed soon."
People rushed out to the stores Saturday to buy bottled water.
"There should be no interruption of power," said Dan Gray, a Valdosta resident. "We paid a lot of money to make sure that would not happen," said Valdosta resident Dan Gray.
Even the hospital isn't allowing visitors because of sanitation issues and to keep patients safe.
"We have allowed visitation under emergency type situations but we do acknowledge we have turned away a lot visitors," said Ken Kiser, the South Georgia Medical Center assistant administrator for patient care services. "We apologize for the inconvenience but we ask everyone to continue to cooperate with us."
Valdosta State University issued a statement on it's web site saying drinking water is available at the food service locations. The college had bottled water delivered to the residence halls.