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288 days of water: Tests show deep water in lake is easily treatable
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An official with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said water samples collected more than 125 feet below the current surface of Lake Lanier have been tested and shown to be easily treated to good drinking quality.

Pat Taylor, assistant resource manager for the corps at Lake Lanier, said the samples were collected by corps personnel Friday near Buford Dam. The samples were taken to the city of Gainesville’s water laboratory, where the analysis was conducted.

"The chemical makeup of the water could easily be reduced to acceptable drinking water levels," Taylor said. "You can do that by conventional treatment methods and most of the plants that are online today could treat this water for public consumption."

He said that the level from which the water was drawn is the same level at which water is sent through the dam. Water enters the dam at 926 feet above mean sea level and flows into the Chattahoochee River at 919 feet.

"The test was conducted on the lake side of the intake structure and also about 2,000 to 3,000 feet away from the dam structure," he said.

He said the Gainesville lab did a thorough analysis of the water and the results of the test were sent to the corps district office in Mobile, Ala.

The state of Georgia and the corps have each offered differing predictions for the amount of water in Lanier. The state has said there is about a two-month supply of water in the lake, while the corps has said that even without any additional rainfall there is a 288 day supply.

"We have used 15-plus feet of our normal pool. Of course, we did not reach normal pool this year," Taylor said.

Water flowing into Lanier for the year has averaged less than half of normal. For the first 30 days of October, inflows have averaged 257 cubic feet per second, compared to an average of 1197 cubic feet per second.

In September, the inflows were even lower at 49 cubic feet per second. The historical average for September is 1,074 cubic feet per second.

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