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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Summerville resident Billy Joe Durham fills up jugs of clean water behind city hall on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020 in Summerville, Georgia. On January 31st, Summerville residents were advised not to consume their tap water after cancer causing chemicals were discovered during a quality inspection done by the Environmental Protection District of Georgia.

This story was updated at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 14, 2002, to clarify which water customer should contact which department with questions.

The city of Summerville, Georgia, and Chattooga County Water have issued a boil-water advisory after a well tested positive for a "fecal indicator."

On Friday, Aug. 7, Chattooga County Water collected a sample from Well No. 7. When the results came back, the sample tested positive for microbes whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with "human or animal wastes," according to the advisory.

Well No. 7 serves customers in the Marble Springs area, south of the River Bridge on Highways 27 and 100.

For water customers in the affected area, boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice.

The microbes could cause short-term health effects such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They're also more dangerous for infants, young children and people with compromised immune systems, authorities said.

The Summerville and Chattooga County community is no stranger to infected water.

At the end of January, city officials were notified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that water from Raccoon Creek showed high levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid.

Those human-made chemicals are used to make carpet, clothing fabric, cookware, paper, food packaging and other materials.

The city has said the levels of both chemicals in its water supply have not increased but that the EPA standards changed in 2016.

In June, city officials found that a test-well site on Highway 48 will be able to supply the amount of water needed to dilute the current supply and provide drinking water that will meet government standards.

The project will include drilling a new well and installing a 16-inch transmission line that will run 3 miles long and pipe water back to the Filter Plant Road water station. The cost will be higher than originally thought.

The city is also considering water rate increases to cover the costs of the original issue.

Chattooga County Water now is disinfecting the well and is expected to finish up by Saturday.

Drinking water is still available from the tanker truck located in front of City Hall in Summerville. Eugene Cordle with Chattooga County Water did not return a call before late Thursday.

For Chattooga County Water customers, call 706-734-2827 for questions. Summerville water customers should contact the the city at 706-859-0900. 

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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