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Summerville residents, business owners in need of drinkable water after flooding over the weekend

Flooding at the city's water plant means community members are without drinkable water for the foreseeable future. There's a boil water advisory in place.

SUMMERVILLE, Ga. — Cleanup efforts are underway in the City of Summerville, which according to Mayor Harry Harvey, saw more than 10 inches of rain in just under a 10-hour period of time.

Now, a boil water advisory is in place there, as community members, including Marvin Timmons, struggle to find water.

"It was rough," Timmons said. "At first that morning, when we got up to take a shower, we turned the water on and it just dripped."

It could continue dripping for about four days, the mayor predicts, but once it returns, it does not mean that water will be drinkable. That's because the water plant in Summerville was submerged in about eight feet of water over the weekend.

RELATED: The latest on flooding in northwest Georgia

"We've never had that before," Mayor Harvey said. "This was a large amount of water in a short period of time. It rose very quickly and certainly caught us off guard. We've had flooding before but certainly not to this magnitude. We had machines there, electrical equipment, operating equipment."

That's why a boil water advisory is in place, but the mayor is not sure how long that could last.

“We may get some water in the system but as far as potable water, it’s going to take a little longer to get drinkable water," he said.

Volunteers have been, and will continue to be, working throughout the week, handing out cases of water bottles outside of city hall to community members impacted by flooding.

This community is no stranger to flooding, or to helping one another.

One resident, who remodeled after last year's flood, had damage after getting 19 inches of rain inside his home over the weekend. His refrigerator was floating in what's meant to be his kitchen.

Credit: Provided.

Timmons did not have that much water go inside his home, but he saw trees down throughout his neighborhood.

"It started raining so hard that you couldn’t even see a tree right there in front of there. It was so bad," he said. "We tried getting to the car and we had to turn around and get back in. You couldn’t even see through the windshield. I was kind of scared."

Business owners are also cleaning up after the rainy weekend. Duff's Flowers & Gifts will have to close its physical doors for about two weeks, but will be taking orders through the phone.

"It’s been pretty heartbreaking," Hunter Gentry, co-owner of the shop, said. "The days we won’t be able to have traffic coming in and out, multiple factors right now that’s going to be a financial loss."

He predicts this flood will be a loss of more than $10,000 for the family-owned business. 

"We're just having a rough time in Chattooga County," he said. "Anything on the floor is going to have to be possibly thrown away. I think we got a third of our silk flower inventory gone."

Credit: Provided.

Down the road, at The Furniture Shoppe, is a flooded basement, too. Manager Lorraine Roberts spoke about the damage.

"Our entire basement was flooded, which is our downstairs show room," she said. "We lost an awful lot from our roof on the first floor and it's made a God-awful mess. So we lost a lot of stock."

Everyone is now trying to pick up the pieces, help one another, and keep their doors open to customers, while dealing with the physical, and financial, damages.

"We don’t have the margins the big guys do," she said. "We really are the downtown home town people and we try to take care of our people. It’s just a mess."

Everyone we spoke with said they've never seen anything quite like the rainfall from over the weekend.

"Nothing like this and I lived through the blizzard of ’93 down in Adairsville and that was pretty bizarre," said Roberts. "For that, you had tree loss and you had cold but this really has devastated the community.” 

Mayor Harvey said updates will be posted here. To donate or to receive donations, click here.

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