4 Minute Spike At Water Plant Reason For Boil Water Advisory

Photo taken at the Highland Avenue Water Treatment Plant in Augusta, Georgia.
Photo taken at the Highland Avenue Water Treatment Plant in Augusta, Georgia.

Augusta, GA (WJBF) – At Augusta’s Highland Avenue Water Treatment Plant, there are uncharted waters.

“We’ve got people who have been up here for 20 and 30 years who have never issued a Boil Water Advisory, before. This is new to us,” said Augusta Utilities Department director Tom Wiedmeier.

The plant was routinely backwashing one of its 17 filters when  a 4-minute long spike took place. The spike was nearly it’s off the charts, ten times higher than normal.

At this point, the department still doesn’t know why the spike happened. The spike was an all-of-a-sudden change in the clarity of the water and they knew something was seriously wrong.

“Something came through the filter that caused the turbidity spike, then it cleaned back up,” said Wiedmeier.

Since those four minutes on Tuesday, the water has been clear, with no more spikes.

“No, and there hasn’t been, before this, either…it’s an anomaly,” said Wiedmeier.

With the water an issue, Mayor Hardie Davis, Jr. and 2 Augusta Comissioners came to the treatment plant, to see for themselves the department’s response.

“The Utilities Department is doing a good job. They’re on top of it, they’re on top of things. What I found out, they monitor the water every 15 minutes,” said Commissioner Bill Fennoy, who chairs Commission’s Engineering Committee.

“There is no eminent threat to the health and safety to our residents, based on what we know. Out of an abundance of caution, the advisory was issued and this is where we are through tomorrow,” said Mayor  Davis.

“We’ll figure out exactly what happened and take steps to make sure it can’t happen again,” says Wiedmeier.

Wiedmeier said there is no bacterial contamination in the water, but they’re waiting for the testing results on the second set of water samples that were collected Wednesday morning. There’s a 24 hour waiting period, so it will be at least sometime Thursday morning before the city can notify the state of the results and hopefully have the Boil Water Advisory lifted.

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