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Boil Water Alert issued after Eatonton Water Main Break

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  • Main water pipe breaks in Eatonton leaving businesses/residents without water on Monday. A boil water advisory is in effect until Wednesday.
    Photo Contributed by PUTNAM COUNTY SHERIFF HOWARD SILLS

The Eatonton-Putnam Water and Sewer Authority has issued a Boil Water Advisory for customers after a water pipe breaks in Eatonton.

Emergency repair crews for ESG Operations, Inc. (ESG) and EPSWSA were successful in repairing a major water main break that occurred in Eatonton on Monday evening, March 2, ESG officials announced in a press release.

"ESG crews mobilized specialty equipment and resources immediately upon discovery of the water main break," said ESG media contact John Eddleman. "The main break was estimated to be losing between 400,000-700,000 gallons per day (gpd). The actual cause of the break is not yet known."

Eddleman noted the volume of the water forced the combined crews to isolate the system by turning off water to the majority of the service area so the excavation site could be dewatered and the necessary repair made. Fixing the break was a complex process, with challenging soil conditions, weather and an active rail line with regularly scheduled train traffic. Crews had to work safely, with precision and deliberation in their excavation and repair work, which required significant attention to detail and time.

"ESG and the Authority have and will continue to work closely with officials of the City of Eatonton, Putnam County and EPD officials to minimize the overall impact of the outage," he said.

The main break was very serious with significant damage to an 8-inch-diameter ductile iron pipe running adjacent to the Norfolk-Southern rail line. The rail line is an important mode of commercial transportation through the region—and ESG moved quickly to make certain that the rail line would not be impacted. The damaged pipe was deep which required a very technical and difficult excavation.

Noting safety was the primary concern for the public works management company, ESG officials said all appropriate trench shoring and safety measures were followed. The repair was completed around midnight and system pressure restored shortly thereafter. Since the system lost pressure, the State of Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) requires water quality samples to be taken and analyzed to ensure water is safe for consumption. The samples were taken early Tuesday morning and analysis will be completed within 24 hours of the submission of the samples to a state-certified lab with the results then being forwarded to EPD. If all of the samples are negative, the boil-water notice currently in effect will be lifted sometime on Wednesday, March 4, following authorization from EPD.

"ESG and EPWSA will continue to update residents on Facebook along with notifying the local news media," Eddleman said. "ESG and EPWSA would like to thank the citizens of Eatonton and Putnam County for their patience while we continue our efforts to return the water system to full operation. Special thanks go out to our dedicated, skilled and hard-working staff for a job well done."