Authorities said the water in Allen Creek is now safe for drinking, swimming, fishing and other recreational activities following a chemical fire at a nearby Monroe Drive business in Gainesville last week. They had advised residents on Tuesday, March 6, not to use the water “for any purpose” following the Sunday, March 4, fire.
“Water quality monitoring has occurred daily, and the pH of the water in Allen Creek has returned to an acceptable range,” Hall County Fire Services Capt. Zachary Brackett wrote in an email about 5 p.m. Monday, March 12. “No other abnormal readings are present.”
Monroe Drive is still closed to through traffic “due to removal of parts of the building and the amount of heavy machinery working in and close to the roadway,” Brackett said.
He said demolition will continue Tuesday, March 13, on the building housing a cleaning, sanitizing, water management, food manufacturing and food safety consulting company named AFCO.
Brackett added that “measures to control and contain product to the site have been effective in containing rainwater on site and directing runoff into collection basins. Work crews are actively removing areas of contamination around the site.”
“Water quality monitoring will continue by the responsible party at the direction of Georgia (Environmental Protection Division) and US (Environmental Protection Agency),” Brackett wrote.
No one was injured in the fire, and the cause is still unknown, Brackett said.
The list of substances housed on the property, provided to The Times by Georgia EPD on Monday, March 5, shows that many chemicals on-site are corrosive, toxic or volatile.
After entering the building and discovering chemical containers ablaze inside the business, firefighters took a “defensive posture” and worked to stop the spread of the fire to nearby buildings, according to Hall Fire Services.