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Stephens residents told to boil water
Flooding causes possible contamination
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Some Stephens County residents are without running water today, and others have been told to boil their water before they drink it after flash flooding Sunday disrupted water service.

The flooding, caused by days of torrential rain, washed out roads in Toccoa and took out the water lines running beneath them. About half of the system’s 25,000 customers are affected.

The effect was a break in at least two water lines — including one of four 16-inch water mains — and possible water contamination in the county, said Don Dye, utility director for the city of Toccoa. The city provides drinking water to some parts of Stephens County.

Once the breaks were detected, the city utility has stopped sending water through the lines with known breaks and continued to look for other broken lines — a difficult task when most lines have been submerged in rising mountain streams, Dye said.

Stephens County may get some relief today when a truck from Clayton County that is used to help utility companies detect leaks arrives.

While the city utility hunts down and repairs the broken water lines, Dye said residents in the central part of Stephens County, including downtown Toccoa, will be without water and others will experience low water pressure.

The county’s hospital has received priority water supply, however.

The city issued a water boil advisory for the residents who are still able to pull water out of their taps. Dye said the advisory is a precautionary measure, and Toccoa officials have no reason to suspect the water is contaminated, Dye said.

As of Monday, the city’s water supply had not been tested for any bacterial contamination.

"We can’t," he said. "You’ve got to have water coming out of the tap before you can do sampling."