As a result of leaks in its water system, the Georgia city of McCaysville has issued a "boil water" advisory for its residents and residents of Copperhill, Tenn., until further notice.
Due to "massive leaks" in the McCaysville water distribution system that have not been located, the city was ordered by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division to issue a water conservation and boil water advisory for the affected area, City Clerk Nancy Godfrey said.
Copperhill purchases its water from McCaysville. McCaysville provides water for about 2,700 taps in its area, and about 500 more taps in Copperhill, Godfrey said.
"Our system is so spread out it's hard to locate the leaks," she said. One leak has been located and repaired, Godfrey added.
The boil advisory is "just a precaution" and the water is not actually contaminated, Godfrey said. The city is asking those it serves with water to conserve it and report any instances of low-pressure or unexplained standing water.
Although the Georgia EPD could not be reached for comment, a document offering guidance for boil water advisories is available on its website.
A water system interruption, such as getting needed repairs, can cause water pressure to drop to dangerously low levels, which can create a "potential health hazard" by causing a backflow or "back-siphonage" of water of "unknown quality" into the system, according to the Georgia EPD document.
In situations where there is the potential for contamination, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends bringing water to a rolling boil for at least a minute before consumption or use.