Water supply problem persists after Georgia floods

SUMMERVILLE, Georgia — Authorities continued to scramble Tuesday to restore water service to parts of a northwest Georgia county after flash flooding on Sunday left pumps submerged and buildings inundated.

Chattooga County officials said water for 8,000 customers in Summerville, Menlo and surrounding areas will remain out of service until at least Wednesday.

Chattooga County emergency management officials said Tuesday that a raw water pump was operating at the plant in the town of Summerville, but work is continuing to restore two others. Officials fear the flooding could damage electrical components at the plant, but flooring maker Mohawk Industries loaned fans to the city to try to dry out critical components. Other machines that control the pumps that push water through the distribution pipes were replaced on Tuesday.

Some other regions had to boil water to remove any impurities.

Water was distributed by government agencies and private groups, with showers being offered to those without water in nearby Trion. Affected residents also received hot meals, flood cleanup supplies and clothing.

Three trucks full of bottled water and relief supplies arrived at the North Summerville Baptist Church before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“It’s a thing of God,” Pastor Sammy Barrett told WGCL-TV. “If you spread the word and pray hard enough, God answers your prayers,”

County schools have canceled classes until at least Wednesday.

“Without water, we cannot flush the toilet, wash our hands, drink from the fountains, or cook lunches,” Chattooga County Superintendent Jared Hosmer wrote in a message to students and families at the district.

The smallest school district in the town of Trion, which gets its water from a separate supplier, held classes on Tuesday. Chattooga County offices and courts were closed, with some county buildings among those flooded in Summerville.

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is expected to tour the damage Wednesday in Summerville after earlier declaring states of emergency in Chattooga and Floyd counties.

The National Weather Service says radar estimates show 10 to 12 inches (25 to 30 centimeters) of rain fell within hours, with higher amounts in some areas. Forecasters say a very humid atmosphere and winds that pushed the storms along a stationary frontal boundary created the conditions for what they called “an abnormal event.”

This is the second time in recent years that some Summerville residents have been left without drinking water. In 2020, the city advised residents not to drink the water, though they could still use it for other things, after the US Environmental Protection Agency discovered high levels of certain chemicals. The city raised rates to build new wells.

ABC News

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