Artesian water is Albany's ace in the hole - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Artesian water is Albany's ace in the hole

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Albany Water Gas and Light says it's very unlikely Albany would ever face a loss of water to the extent that Valdosta did on Saturday.

The geology under Albany means the city with an abundance of well water, and utility leaders say they built in safeguards to the system to prevent water outages.

Water at the Albany Water Gas and Light well field, bubbles up from the Upper Floridian aquifer. That's why Albany officials feel confident in their water system's reliability. 1:29:36  "We're a totally different situation than Valdosta,"  said Albany WG&L Spokesperson Lorie Farkas.

All of Albany's water comes from the underground aquifer, so it requires much less purification than city's that use surface water as a source. "It's already 99.9% pure. So we have very good, clean, pure drinking water. That's part of the reason P and G settled here. Part of the reason Miller Brewing settled here. Our abundance of water and how clean it is,"  Farkas said

Albany has it's main water treatment plant and well field, as well as 36 wells across the city. The city is divided into ten zones, each with one to six wells. The system is designed to pump 50 million gallons of water a day, but on an average day only pushes 35 percent of it's capacity. So they are able to backup the others.

"So if one zone would go out, which has not happened, another zone could pick up that load,"  Farkas said. 

This huge generator at the water treatment plant is part of the back up power running the system. They also have portable generators to run the systems in each zone if the electricity goes out. Water Gas and Light says they have used experience from the flood of 1994 and homeland security in the wake of 9-11 to upgrade Albany's water system, and safeguard it.

Albany water officials are proud that in the flood of 1994, when so many other Georgia cities water systems failed, Albany's water never had an outage or health concern.