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Paint spill into Lanier appears minor, no threat to drinking water
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A small amount of paint spilled into Lake Lanier near Thompson Bridge on Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. Drinking water has not been affected, according to officials.

A small amount of paint was spilled into Lake Lanier on Monday when Georgia Department of Transportation contractors were painting Thompson Bridge in North Hall.

Drinking water has not been affected, according to Jennifer Flowers with Gainesville Water Resources, who visited the site Monday.

A Chattahoochee Riverkeeper member reported the spill on Monday morning, and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper staff went to the site to investigate, according to Dale Caldwell, headwaters director for the organization.

“It’s still unclear whether this was from a spill or from overspray or from … remnants of particles left over from the tarps they used,” Caldwell said.

He said that while it is not clear how much paint was spilled, the spill appears to be minor.

“We recognize the need for road work and bridge work, but paint or any other chemicals associated with that work are certainly pollutants that can either harm aquatic life or pollute a lake that so many people depend on for a drinking water source and a source for fishing and recreation,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell said the paint dissipated in the water within about 30 minutes of Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s arrival on site, and it would have been difficult to contain in such a short amount of time.

GDOT managers met with Caldwell on Wednesday after the GDOT investigation of the spill, which began about an hour after Chattahoochee Riverkeeper reported it, according to GDOT spokeswoman Katie Strickland.

“We did not find any evidence of paint on the rocks or the shore of the lake,” Strickland said in an email. “We have the same goals as the Riverkeeper organization, to protect the lake and we will continue working together in the future.”

Caldwell said after the meeting with GDOT that he felt confident GDOT would be responsive to environmental concerns in the future.