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Emergency contract approved to fix 'mysterious failure' sending sewage into Cobb creek

County workers are racing against the clock as major rain approaches and threatens to hinder repair efforts.

Cobb County is signing an emergency contract to make repairs to part of its water treatment system now responsible for sending sewage into nearby streams.

Cobb County officials said late Wednesday morning that a major pump failure at the South Cobb Water Reclamation Facility on Lee Industrial Boulevard has resulted in the release of a combination of rainwater, creek water and untreated wastewater into Nickajack Creek near where it empties into the Chattahoochee River. 

The goal now is to solve the problem and keep more of the water from entering the water table - then figure out what caused the "mysterious failure."

"Our first priority is to protect our people and the environment," said Cobb Chairman Mike Boyce. "Before we start investigating the cause let's take care of the level of the wastewater in the well right now, let's take care of the water in the system that's overflowing into the environment."

The failure ties back to an incident in the tunnel connecting the South Cobb Tunnel to the water plant lift station.  As the area flooded - already inundated with major rains, officials said it then caused the failure of the plant's main pumps and backup pumps.

Boyce promised to use any county resources necessary to fix the problem and the county, in a statement, said that crews were already working around the clock and bringing in more pumps to clear the damaged portion of the lift station.

The water department is also signing a contract with Archer Western Construction to bring in more resources before the weekend - ahead of predicted heavy rains in the coming days.

While the water issue is a major concern, the county has stressed that this situation doesn't involve the county's drinking water supply which comes from a different system.