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'Taps still dry': Hundreds with no water in Milledgeville & Baldwin County

According to the City Manager-- Hank Griffeth-- hundreds of folks north of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive have been without water since Sunday night.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — It's been a draining couple of days for hundreds of people around Milledgeville and Baldwin County. 

Water main breaks during this holiday weekend's cold blast left some people with low water pressure-- or no water at all. 

13WMAZ’s Jessica Cha spoke to people there about their interesting start to the last week of the year.

According to the City Manager– Hank Griffeth–  and County Manager– Carlos Tobar– folks and businesses north of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive have been without water since Sunday night.  They have been able to isolate where the issue is but the exact area of the failure has not been located.

 Neighbors in the Country Club Estate area say that there are about a hundred houses with no water, but they say they're managing.

"No clothes washing, no showers, you know,” says Merritt Massey. 

Massey has lived in the Country Club Estates for over two decades. He says they're no strangers to the water outages however…

“Not in the past 12 months and so this is kind of a new event for us, and so we’re just trying to figure out how to work through it.”

Massey says his problems started on Christmas Eve. He says their electricity was out until 11pm at night, and then their water went out around 11P.M. Sunday night. 

15 hours later, the tap is still dry.

"We have been going over to a neighbor's swimming pool and getting buckets of water to where we can flush the toilets,” Massey explains. 

Massey has also been going with neighbor Sean Vertin to the lake nearby to collect water. Vertin says he lost his water around nine P.M.

"You know, with small kids and no water, that's a little rough but we've got bottled water enough to last a couple days,” he says. 

Vertin says he drove to Eatonton to pick up more bottled water and the shelves were pretty empty. He says they're okay for now but will eventually need to find somewhere else to go if the water doesn't turn on soon. 

"That's the last resort. You don't want to be away from home, we've got pets. We're hoping that we can wait it out,” Vertin says. “It’s just been an interesting Christmas.”

Massey says he knows there are folks whose pipes burst and are in much worse condition.

"Right now, all bets are off till they find the water main break,” he says. 

County Manager Carlos Tobar says there are around 200 people in the county who don't have access to water. City Manager Hank Griffeth says they're not sure how many are affected in Milledgeville.

Businesses like Sucheros on Roberson Mill Road and the Starbucks on North Columbia Street shut down for the day because of the water problems. 

Griffeth says they've isolated the problem area, but are still looking for the break so they can fix it.  He says they do not know when service may get restored.

An update was sent out just after 6 p.m. on Monday as they have managed to isolate the area where the issue is which has allowed them to slowly increase the pressurization. GEMA is set to assist with water distribution in Milledgeville.

The full statement:

"An area in the City of Milledgeville water system, where a potential major water main issue may be located, has been isolated but the exact area of the issue or failure has not been located. Water management operations, used to isolate the possible area of major water main issues, have caused the pressure on the failed part of the system to begin to increase but that pressurization is slow due to multiple tanks being drained overnight by both the potential water main failure(s) and a large number of residential and business water breaks affecting the system. Current outages include all of the area of the city’s system north of MLK, Jr. Drive as well as that area west of the Highway 441 Bypass, including the Allenwood Subdivision and the Blandy Road area.

We are aware of numerous small to medium-sized water main breaks on the system, which may be seen from the roads, and we are repairing those as weather allows. Contractors will begin working tomorrow (December 27, 2022) to assist in the repair of these smaller water main breaks and failures. Additionally, we are consulting with our water and sewer engineering firm to assist us in hydrological engineering, which has an impact on an event of this type. 

Arrangements have been made with a Georgia Emergency Management Agency contractor, who will be delivering water to the city this evening. As soon as an estimated time of arrival of the water has been determined and distribution logistics have been worked out, a water distribution center will be opened, and the location and hours of that center will be communicated via the same platforms as all information is being communicated to the water system customers.

The emergency phone number for water and sewer issues, (478) 414-4000, is operating but may, at times, be overtaxed and difficult to reach. We are most likely aware of the outage you are reporting, especially if it is located in the geographical area mention at the beginning of this release.

Everyone, with the City of Milledgeville, that is a part of this event, is as frustrated as many of our customers that we cannot determine the specific location of the failure. Employees have been out all-day walking lines that traverse through wooded areas, cross creeks, and follow many paths other than the roads around them, trying to locate the issue. We apologize for the inconvenience and will continue to work until the system is repaired and restored."

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