New report blasts Fayette County Water Department

FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. -- Last Spring, several of our viewers emailed and called about foul smelling water in Fayette County, especially around the Peachtree City area.

The results are in on what caused the smell and they are not pretty.

When first reported in May, it was thought that nature was the culprit for the foul smelling water.

Investigators blamed shifting temperatures at one or more of their water reservoirs.

However, now investigators know the problem was at county water treatment plants -- all thanks to poor conditions and the people running them.

A scathing 45-page State Environmental Report blasts the Fayette County's Water Department for how it runs two water treatment plants.

The report uncovered non-certified personnel running the plants; wrongly signed documents; managers not properly licensed; improper record keeping and equipment in disrepair.

Ted Jackson, Drinking Water Program Manager for the Georgia Environmental Protection Agency says it's highly unusual to have two plants in the same County facing serious difficulties.

"Lots of equipment needs to be repaired and fixed. We have encouraged Fayette County Water to retrain its operators so they know exactly what they are doing, when to do it and how to do it," Jackson said.

And the EPD is going a step further.

They say they will ask the Georgia Secretary of State to investigate the Water Department for possible fraud or deception, not using reasonable care and possible incompetence.

Steve Brown, Fayette County's Commission Chairman is not only upset by the findings, but says as soon as the County Manager gets back from vacation, heads will roll.

"We're startled at how bad things actually are. We knew that we had some problems, but the reports have revealed some things that even we didn't know about," he said.

Chairman Brown doesn't know how much money it will take to fix the problem, but he says it will probably mean higher water bills, which falls on taxpayers.

The only good news is that no matter how bad Fayette County's water tasted, experts say it never posed a health hazard.


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