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Why does Warner Robins have so many boil advisories?

According to the city's water supervisor, they abide by the EPD guidelines because they'd rather be safe than sorry.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — In 2019, Warner Robins saw 22 water main breaks and issued boil advisories for every single one.

The Environmental Protection Division says anytime there is a water main break and the pressure goes below a certain point, the city has to warn people.

Ronnie Washington was stuck boiling his water two weeks ago.

He said he was surprised when he saw the advisory for his neighborhood on the news.

"Since I’ve been here, you know, I think this is the first time they had a pipe that burst," said Washington.

"Anytime the pressure drops below 20 pounds PSI, we have to issue a boil advisory," said Warner Robins' Water Supervisor Joey McDuffie. 

He said if they don’t, they could be looking at a heavy fine.

McDuffie said as they are fixing the pipes, water samples have to be taken to a lab for bacteria tests.

"Once that is done, they’ll come back and clear it where we can lift the boil advisory."

He said in the last three years, they’ve only had one sample test positive for bacteria, which happened when they collected the sample in the rain.

He said if 22 boil advisories seems like a lot, it really isn’t.

Warner Robins has plastic PVC pipes, which are harder to fix than metal pipes.

"A ductile iron pipe, usually when it breaks, it breaks like somebody cut it with a saw right down the center."

He said Macon has lots of those iron pipes, which are easier to clamp shut without slowing down the water. 

The Macon Water Authority told us they had 26 breaks last year, but just one boil-water order.

McDuffie said breaks can happen for a number of reasons -- construction, the ground shifting because of the weather, or tree roots can split the pipe.

Washington says having to boil all his water for 24 hours was frustrating.

"It was a hassle from the get-go."

But McDuffie says they’d rather be safe than sorry.

"It’s for the protection of the citizens. That is the main concern," said McDuffie.

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