JASPER, Ga. – The Pickens County Board of Commissioners could see major changes to its water system in February.
Two issues dealing with the subject will affect the county moving forward. However, many citzens may not see these changes right away. That is because the first issue is set to strengthen the county’s water back-up power system in emergencies, and the second will only affect rates for meters two inches or larger.
The county has secured an Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Generator Grant. According to a report the county heard in its work session, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency (GEMA) visited Pickens to view the water pump sites in the county. After going through paperwork and traveling across the county, GEMA has signed off on the grant and the county should receive the money, $185,115, by the end of February to move forward with adding a backup generator to another of the county’s water pumps to maintain water access through power outages in situations like storms, a tornado, or other disasters. The county is matching $24,000 in the project works for the grant.
Additionally, the representative from GEMA saw other sites to add five more generators to complete the backup power of the county’s water including one at the public works to help with concerns over the fuel depot. Having already taken the representative to these other locations could expedite the pre-application for grants on these other sites.
The other issue discussed at their work session focused on a rate increase being requested by the Pickens County Water & Sewer Authority to compensate for an increase in water drawn from a business in the area; however, the specific business was not disclosed. The increase is not going to every customer, rather only the large meters two inches and bigger. The increase comes on the heels of information that the one customer has been drawing, on average, 190,000 gallons of water per day.
The current look of the water rates, according to the county’s website, looks like this:
WATER RATES & METER FEES
¾ inch meter …… $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons .
1 inch meter…… $51.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
2 inch meter……$66.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
3 inch meter……$76.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
4 inch meter……$81.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
6 inch meter…. $111.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$5.00 per thousand above 1,000 up to 3,000 gallons
$6.00 per thousand above 3,000 up to 5,000 gallons
$7.00 per thousand above 5,000 gallons and above
FH meter…. $36.00 Minimum per thousand up to 1,000 gallons
$4.25 per thousand above 1,000 gallons
Since the county can only pull 280,000 gallons of water from Cherokee County per day, before incurring a heavy surcharge, to supplement the water usage, the Authority is requesting their rate increase. Currently, the top end rate stands at $7 per thousand for anything 5,000 and above, but the increase will change it to $7 per thousand from 5,000 to 10,000 gallons and $9 per thousand for anything 10,000 gallons and above.
Since it was a work session, neither item has had official action yet. Citizens still have the chance to speak with the board members at the regular scheduled meeting on the third Thursday of the month, February 15.
Well Water Testing
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
For the most part, north Georgia did not see extreme flooding as a result of hurricane Irma as did other areas of the state, but it does bring to mind the importance of well safety. Wells that were overtopped by flood waters need to be flushed and tested for bacteria because of the potential danger of contaminants being washed into the well. UGA Extension Water Resource Management and Policy Specialist Gary Hawkins recommends pumping and flushing a minimum of 2 or 3 times the well volume to clear the system. This water should be discarded from an outside faucet and not from an inside faucet to bypass the home’s septic tank. After pumping the water, the well should be shock chlorinated then the well should be flushed again until there is no smell of chlorine bleach and, like before, the flushing step should be done through an outdoor faucet to bypass the septic system. This highly chlorinated water, if discharged to the septic tank, could cause problems with the bacterial colonies in the septic tank.
After the well is shock-chlorinated, flushed and the chlorine smell is gone (about two weeks), the well water should be tested for bacteria. Families can get their well water tested using their local county UGA Extension office. Until the test for bacteria comes back, Hawkins strongly suggests that water for cooking or drinking be boiled before consumption. If the well contains bacteria the report will explain how to treat the well.
To calculate the volume of water that should be pumped from a well, use the following calculation. Most of the well casings in this area are 6 inches so the factor for that size is 1.47. That means that there are 1.47 gallons of water for every foot in depth. Multiply the depth of water in the well by this factor to determine how much water is in the well. If your casing is not 6 inches, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office and we can get the right factor.
There are several methods to determine how much water you have flushed out, but the one that I use is to calculate how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Divide that time by 5 to get the output per minute. Using this figure you can determine how many minutes you need to run the water to flush the number of gallons of water that was determined in the previous calculation. A couple of methods can be used to determine the depth of water in a well. If you can see the water in the well, lower a heavy object tied to a string down the well and measure the length of the string until you see the object touch the water. In a deep well, lower a heavy object like above until you hear the object hit the water and measure the length of string. If you cannot see the object hit the water, another way (but less accurate) is to drop a small stone into the well and count or time the seconds it takes for the stone to hit the water (you will have to listen closely for this.) Multiply the number of seconds by 32.2 and that will let you know how far the water is below the surface. Knowing the depth of the well and the depth from surface, subtract the two to get the height of the water column for calculating the volume of water in the well.
An example of this calculation is if you have a well that is 300 feet deep and the water level is 25 feet from the surface, subtracting 25 from 300 equals 275 which means you have 275 feet of water in the well. Multiply 275 by 1.47 to get the gallons in the well. That figure is 404.25 gallons. Using a factor of 3 pints per 100 gallons, you would need to apply a little over 12 pints of chlorine bleach in the well.
If you have any questions about this process or for more information on well water testing, contact me at the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution
Jasper, GA – The Board of Commissioners were excited to announce the approval of the new fire station in Pickens County off of Carlan Road. The county will be purchasing two acres for $13,500 per acre. Board Member Jerry Barnes states this is an ideal location.
Members approved the signing of the credit card resolution. This states that elected officials who have a credit card through the county are responsible for their own credit card accounts.This will hopefully prevent any unforeseen problems for the county.
The Board of Commissioners currently have two cards, the Sheriff’s Office has three cards, and the Magistrate Court has one card.
The Good Samaritan Clinic Construction contract was also signed to begin construction for an additional building at the clinic. This will allow for more space and care at the Good Samaritan. Cooper and Co. are moving forward with construction of the project.
Under old business the board signed the Capital Lease for new sheriff’s office vehicles. This will allow the purchase of ten more patrol vehicles. Our county SPLOST dollars will cover the expense.
The board discussed the approval of the Gilmer Water Agreement, allowing our two counties to connect water lines for purchasing or selling water to each other.
Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com
Public Health Notice: DO NOT DRINK WATER FROM FLOODED WELLS OR SPRINGS
North Georgia – Due to recent weather conditions, any well or spring that has been covered with flood waters must be considered contaminated. Do not drink the water until after flood waters have receded, the well or spring has been disinfected with household bleach and the water has been laboratory tested. Contact the local county Environmental Health Office for questions and further instructions, if needed.
Disinfecting a Well
Well disinfection is necessary if the well or spring was covered with flood waters. Before chlorinating, it is important to check the integrity of the well or spring water source to prevent future contamination. Well construction must prevent entry of surface water, debris, insects and animals. The well casing and concrete slab should be sealed and the well cap or sanitary seal must be secure. Springs should be in a sealed spring house.
- Thoroughly clean all accessible outside surfaces removing any loose debris and mud around the well or spring. Then, wash the well area with a strong chlorine solution (1 quart of household bleach per 5 gallon of water).
- Determine the amount of water in the well. Calculate the amount of bleach chlorine needed. DO NOT USE SCENTED BLEACHES. Health officials recommend using the normal strength household bleach, which is 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite.
- Remove the well cap or place a funnel into the small vent pipe of the well cap. Use the table below and add the appropriate amount of bleach. A minimum of 50 ppm chlorine solution is required:
|20’||3 pints||3 pints||½ gal.||½ gal.||2 gal.||3 gal.|
|40’||3 pints||3 pints||½ gal.||¾ gal.||–||–|
|80’||3 pints||½ gal.||½ gal.||¾ gal.||–||–|
|100’||3 pints||½ gal.||¾ gal.||1 gal.||–||–|
If depth and diameter are unknown, 1 gallon of bleach can be used. Extra bleach does not necessarily mean extra disinfection and can be a health hazard in itself.
DO NOT DRINK OR PREPARE FOODS WITH WATER WHILE BLEACH IS IN THE WATER SYSTEM!
- Run water from an outside faucet through a hose until a strong chlorine odor can be detected. Place the end of the hose in the well allowing the water to run down the sides of the casing and circulate for at least 15 minutes. Replace the well cap.
- Turn off the hose and enter the home opening each tap, one at a time, until the smell of chlorine can be detected. Please include hot water faucets, toilets, bathtubs, washing machine, etc.
- Once the chlorine odor reaches all outlets, let the water system stand for 8 hours, preferably overnight. Refrain from any water use during this time.
- Flush the system of chlorine by turning on an outside faucet letting it run until the chlorine odor dissipates. Finally, run indoor faucets until the water is clear and the chlorine odor is gone. Do not run any unnecessary water into the septic system or allow the chlorinated water to drain directly into a stream or pond. Continue this process until the odor of bleach is completely gone.
- The water should be laboratory tested to determine if it is safe to drink. It is recommended that over the next several weeks two additional samples be taken to be sure results are satisfactory. Repeated chlorination and/or a well professional should be called if problems remain.
- If not sure how to disinfect a well or spring, how to take a well sample or how to get laboratory results, contact the local county Environmental Health Office.
Written by Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health, North Georgia Health District 1-2
For direct access to this Public Health Notice on our website, log onto http://nghd.org/pr/34-/741-public-health-notice-do-not-drink-water-from-flooded-wells-or-springs.html