ELLIJAY, Ga. – With only one night into what is expected to become a week long surge of rain and storms, Gilmer County has seen debris and trees down on several roads.
While authorities are urging care and caution in citizens, the Publis Safety Department and Sheriff’s Offices are both continuing warnings about flash floods, high winds, and dangerous conditions that could last until Saturday.
A Flood Watch remains effect through Saturday morning for portions of north and northwest Georgia. As a result of multiple periods with heavy rainfall, some localized flooding of creeks and streams may be possible across portions of northern Georgia.
Additionally, even Gilmer County Schools representatives have reported delays in bus routes and travel because of the debris and trees the county is already dealing with on their roads.
They are asking parents for patience today as drivers are navigating these roads and conditions. Parents should not be concerned if students on buses arrive home a few minutes later than normal.
Please be patient as some bus routes may run slightly later than normal as our drivers exercise extreme caution in transporting our students this morning.
Amicalola Electric company is also reporting major outages in the area as they continue dealing with the storm. With 107 outages, they have reported close to 4,000 homes without power today. While much of these outages came in the area of Talking Rock and Highway 52, there are others affected all over the county. Crews are currently attending to these and working to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.
The National Weather Service is continuing its Flood Warnings for the area through Saturday Morning and has added a sever weather statement saying,
Wind gusts of 20 to 30 mph will be possible through the rest of the day for portions of northern Georgia. These enhanced wind speeds combined with extremely saturated soils from the persistent rain have resulted in conditions very susceptible for trees to become uprooted and blown over. Trees may be blown onto structures, roadways or powerlines causing further power outages across the area.
ELLIJAY, GA – Gilmer County Citizens are preparing for the coming storms from Hurricane Irma. Some are stocking up on food, others on gas.
Gilmer County Public Safety is also following suit with preparedness checks on equipment and staff readiness, according to Director Tony Pritchett. Gilmer has already seen an influx of people from the southern parts of our state as hotels are currently filling to capacity. Pritchett tells FYN that emergency services have reserves agreements and the county’s fuel truck ready in case of shortages and all emergency responders are being put on stand-by should the storm take a turn towards our county.
In fact, it is the uncertainty of the storm’s path that is what is keeping everything in Gilmer on edge. Gilmer has certain resources we could send to other parts of the state if Gilmer was not under threat. However, Pritchett said he is waiting to send out resources until he is certain that Gilmer is safe and the resources are available.
In case of that possibility, Pritchett says he is staying in direct contact with Georgia’s State Emergency Management Teams for preparedness.
Pritchett went further with FYN saying, “Folks need to make preparations to be self-sufficient for a period of 48 to 72 hours in the way of power supply, in the way of food, water, and individual needs. Obviously, if you live somewhere near a water way or a flood prone area, you need to pay very close attention because floods can absolutely come with very little notice and can be into that residence very quickly… Pay very close attention to the warnings and the things that are told across the media from Emergency Services… If we are saying you need to evacuate from flood prone area, you need to do it right then and not wait until its too late.”
More preparations are being implemented for citizens including pre-chosen shelter areas at the Gilmer County Civic Center or one of the gyms at either the high school or the middle school. Depending on the situation any of these could be utilized and citizens are advised to stay with media notifications of which shelters to go to.
Still, others continue to prepare in their own way, testing generators and stocking up on necessities from local supermarkets. Many companies in North Georgia have already sent extra linemen and utility workers to the devastation in Texas. So, it will remain to be seen if that makes an effect on the coming storms.
Pritchett confirmed with FYN that they do expect to see a slight uptick in standard emergency calls with the influx of more people to the county, but he expects no issues with the readiness checks and extra preparations in place.
Public Health Notice: DO NOT DRINK WATER FROM FLOODED WELLS OR SPRINGS
North Georgia – Due to recent weather conditions, any well or spring that has been covered with flood waters must be considered contaminated. Do not drink the water until after flood waters have receded, the well or spring has been disinfected with household bleach and the water has been laboratory tested. Contact the local county Environmental Health Office for questions and further instructions, if needed.
Disinfecting a Well
Well disinfection is necessary if the well or spring was covered with flood waters. Before chlorinating, it is important to check the integrity of the well or spring water source to prevent future contamination. Well construction must prevent entry of surface water, debris, insects and animals. The well casing and concrete slab should be sealed and the well cap or sanitary seal must be secure. Springs should be in a sealed spring house.
- Thoroughly clean all accessible outside surfaces removing any loose debris and mud around the well or spring. Then, wash the well area with a strong chlorine solution (1 quart of household bleach per 5 gallon of water).
- Determine the amount of water in the well. Calculate the amount of bleach chlorine needed. DO NOT USE SCENTED BLEACHES. Health officials recommend using the normal strength household bleach, which is 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite.
- Remove the well cap or place a funnel into the small vent pipe of the well cap. Use the table below and add the appropriate amount of bleach. A minimum of 50 ppm chlorine solution is required:
|20’||3 pints||3 pints||½ gal.||½ gal.||2 gal.||3 gal.|
|40’||3 pints||3 pints||½ gal.||¾ gal.||–||–|
|80’||3 pints||½ gal.||½ gal.||¾ gal.||–||–|
|100’||3 pints||½ gal.||¾ gal.||1 gal.||–||–|
If depth and diameter are unknown, 1 gallon of bleach can be used. Extra bleach does not necessarily mean extra disinfection and can be a health hazard in itself.
DO NOT DRINK OR PREPARE FOODS WITH WATER WHILE BLEACH IS IN THE WATER SYSTEM!
- Run water from an outside faucet through a hose until a strong chlorine odor can be detected. Place the end of the hose in the well allowing the water to run down the sides of the casing and circulate for at least 15 minutes. Replace the well cap.
- Turn off the hose and enter the home opening each tap, one at a time, until the smell of chlorine can be detected. Please include hot water faucets, toilets, bathtubs, washing machine, etc.
- Once the chlorine odor reaches all outlets, let the water system stand for 8 hours, preferably overnight. Refrain from any water use during this time.
- Flush the system of chlorine by turning on an outside faucet letting it run until the chlorine odor dissipates. Finally, run indoor faucets until the water is clear and the chlorine odor is gone. Do not run any unnecessary water into the septic system or allow the chlorinated water to drain directly into a stream or pond. Continue this process until the odor of bleach is completely gone.
- The water should be laboratory tested to determine if it is safe to drink. It is recommended that over the next several weeks two additional samples be taken to be sure results are satisfactory. Repeated chlorination and/or a well professional should be called if problems remain.
- If not sure how to disinfect a well or spring, how to take a well sample or how to get laboratory results, contact the local county Environmental Health Office.
Written by Raymond King, Director of Environmental Health, North Georgia Health District 1-2
For direct access to this Public Health Notice on our website, log onto http://nghd.org/pr/34-/741-public-health-notice-do-not-drink-water-from-flooded-wells-or-springs.html