Boil advisory still in effect for Valdosta water customers -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Boil advisory still in effect for Valdosta water customers

By Jade Bulecza - bio | email

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) –A boil water advisory is still in effect for Valdosta city water customers.

Water in Valdosta is being tested after a short in an underground power line left customers with low pressure, untreated water.

They first thought it was a piece of equipment called a switch gear, similar to a circuit breaker in your home, but after installing a temporary bypass line, a shortage in an underground power line was found. That power outage caused the system trip out and overload burning two motors. The line has been repaired.

"We still have to get EPD approval to lift water restrictions," said Henry Hicks, the Valdosta utilities director. "We got to prove to them the water residuals are good, the pressures are good and that there's no bacterial contamination in the system."

City officials say the were never without water with four million gallons of ground storage. They're hoping the boil alert can be lifted Wednesday.

The water boil advisory has been in effect since Saturday.

While the city of Valdosta is working to make sure the water is safe to drink without boiling, restaurants, residents and schools are dealing with it the best they can.

If you're one of the 3,000 students who live on Valdosta State University campus you can get five bottles of water with an I-D.

"like me I don't drive so I wasn't able to get water. So the five bottles of water they supplied for me I'm able to use everyday one bottle a day."

Nestle donated thousands of water bottles to VSU. Water fountains there and at the Valdosta city schools are covered. Signs above say do not drink. Valdosta city schools are having bag lunches and prepackaged breakfast items until the boil alert is lifted. The school system had water donated from Second Harvest of South Georgia and that was earmarked for emergency situations.

 "We're in constant contact with the city and health officials because the safety of students is always first," said Jennifer Steedley, the public information officer for Valdosta city schools.

And restaurants are feeling the impact. Many of them like Jessie's Eats and Treats have are selling canned beverages instead of soft drinks. Rick Coleman who was a restaurant owner himself.

"We can't use ice because it mixes with water so we're having to bring in bottles of water bring in ice to make sure we're keeping people safe," said Rick Coleman, the owner of SurEste. "We have to make sure we're not washing dishes in contaminated water."

The water is being tested and the city says so far chlorine residuals are looking good.

As the city continues to flush out the lines, maybe by Wednesday, we won't have to buy gallons of water.

"We went out to eat last night and I asked for water and the woman looked at me like I was crazy," said Albahari.

The city says the water coming out now is well water but just as a precaution that's why there's a boil alert.

South Georgia Medical Center is now allowing visitors as they would normally. They do have bottled water they're providing to patients and staff and also using in surgical services and the operating room. Dialysis patients are still being referred to other facilities.

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