Demorest water customers’ worries were put to rest Sunday morning when they awoke to find water running through their faucets. A number of customers in and around Mt. Airy spent much of Saturday without water after a water line ruptured, not once, but twice.
The water outage was first reported around noon Saturday. A 20 foot section of ruptured line was replaced around 9 p.m. Water service was temporarily restored but around midnight an adjacent section of line ruptured, again disrupting service. Repairs on the second section of pipe were completed around 5 a.m. Sunday.
In all, some 2,000 Demorest water customers were affected. Those who didn’t have a complete outage experienced low pressure as crews had to drain the lines to make repairs.
Affected areas include: Hazel Creek from Highway 197 to GA 365, Cody Road, Kinney Mill Road, Black Snake Road, North Mize, Canterbury Trail, Dicks Hill Parkway, Rock Road, and Antioch Church Road.
Boil Water Advisory issued
The City of Demorest has issued a Boil Water Advisory as a precaution. Customers affected by the outages and loss of pressure should boil their water before consuming it for 48 hours or until further notice. Water should be boiled for at least one minute after reaching a rolling boil prior to drinking, cooking, or preparing baby food with it.
Demorest will issue a public notice when the advisory is lifted.
Water samples from the broken line will be sent to the State Environmental Protection Division on Monday to be tested for possible contamination. The results won’t come in until Tuesday, at the earliest.
“This is one of the more extensive line repairs I’ve seen in my four years as mayor,” says Rick Austin. The mayor said on Saturday lightning may have caused the damage but now says the cause is unknown.
Repairs were complicated by a number of factors. “It’s a very difficult water line break. The difficulty is not just in repairing the line itself but what’s around the line,” Austin explained as crews worked into the early morning hours. “There’s lots of rock and telephone lines buried near it.”
While officials are not certain of the cause, they say the large amount of rock surrounding the pipe may have contributed to the pipe’s failure.
Saturday’s weather also posed a challenge. Crews had to work in intermittent torrential rains throughout the day and holes dug for repairs quickly filled with water.
According to Austin, Demorest Public Works Director Bryan Popham told him it was the toughest water repair job he’s dealt with in his 22 years on the job. To avoid a repeat, they replaced the ruptured lines with higher caliber, higher quality pipes, Austin says.
The Demorest water crew worked nearly 18 hours straight to complete the repairs and restore full service by early morning. Austin praised them for their efforts calling them “the best in Northeast Georgia.”