Water supply problem persists after floods in Georgia

SUMMERVILLE, Ga. (AP) — Officials continued to fight Tuesday to restore water supplies to parts of northwestern Georgia County after flash flooding Sunday that flooded pumps and flooded buildings.

Chattooga County officials said water for 8,000 customers in Summerville, Menlo and surrounding areas will not be available until at least Wednesday.

Chattooga County Emergency Management officials said Tuesday that one raw water pump at the Summerville plant is working, but work is ongoing to restore two others. Officials are concerned that the flooding has damaged electrical components at the plant, but flooring manufacturer Mohawk Industries has loaned fans to the city to try and dry critical components. Other equipment that drives pumps that force water into distribution pipes was replaced on Tuesday.

In some other areas, water was ordered to be boiled to remove possible impurities.

Water was distributed by government agencies and private groups, and showers were offered to those who did not have water in nearby Tryon. Affected residents were also offered hot meals, flood relief supplies and clothing.

Three truckloads of bottled water and emergency supplies arrived at North Summerville Baptist Church before 9:00 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s God’s business,” Pastor Sammy Barrett told WGCL-TV. “If you speak the word and pray hard enough, God will answer your prayers.”

District schools have canceled classes until at least Wednesday.

“Without water, we cannot flush toilets, wash our hands, drink from fountains, or cook meals,” Chattooga County Superintendent Jared Hosmer wrote in a message to schoolchildren and families in the county.

The smaller Tryon school district, which receives its water from a separate supplier, had classes on Tuesday. Chattooga County offices and courts were closed and some county buildings were flooded in Summerville.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is due to tour Wednesday in Summerville after earlier declaring a state of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd counties.

The National Weather Service says that radars estimate that 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) of rain fell in a few hours, with more rainfall in some areas. Forecasters say the very humid atmosphere and the winds that drove the storms along the stationary frontal boundary created the conditions for what they called “an anomalous event.”

For the second time in recent years, some Summerville residents have been left without clean water. In 2020, the city advised residents not to drink the water, although they could still use it for other purposes, after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found high levels of certain chemicals. The city raised the stakes on building new wells.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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