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Water Line Inventory: Information to Customers Forthcoming from Water Authority

News Editor

At the May 23 meeting of the Water & Sewer Authority, General Manager Sherri Walker discussed the federally mandated inventory of all pre-1990 water lines in the country. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule Revision requires significant work from all water authorities, but homeowners must also check their lines.

See the NWGA Regional Commission Meeting story in the March 22 issue of the Sentinel for discussion about the project at the regional level.

Walker explained, “After going to the conference this month, the rules are changing again which is nothing new with EPA and EPD. I’ve been talking with Walker County, and they’re in the same boat as every other water authority in the country right now.”

The authority hoped to approve a flyer that will be sent to Dade County residents regarding the requirements of this rule, but the mailer has been delayed due to changing guidance funneling from the federal level to state and then local levels.

The inventory must be completed by Oct. 2024. Homeowners are responsible for lines running from water meters in (toward homes), while the water authority is responsible for lines running from meters out (away from homes).

Walker said, “Most of the lead lines were put in up north, like in Flint, Mich. There may be some here on the customer side, but we’ve not found any evidence of any on our side.”

If you own a home built prior to 1990, keep an eye on your mailbox in coming months for instructions from the water authority. The authority will approve and send the flyer once guidance is confirmed.

Other matters discussed were continued work to secure funding for a screen at the raw water intake station (as explained by the authority in previous meetings and covered by the Sentinel in previous editions). The Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) approved a loan, but Walker reported that they have also submitted federal grant requests in the hopes of lessening the loan size.

Walker said, “If we’re going to accept the GEFA loan, we have to have everything executed by Nov. 11. It’s just on hold right now until we find out if we’ll get any federal money. We’ve applied with Marjorie Taylor Greene, Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.”

The authority also approved purchasing a 2024 International MV607 SBA from International Trucks for $134,695.60.

Walker reported, “Our current service truck is a 23-year-old Ford F-650 that is in serious need of assistance. The kingpins are wearing the tread on the inside of the tires. We’re having a terrible time finding parts.”

Danny Evans (distribution supervisor) reported that the brakes on this vehicle do not work properly, the truck has died several times while in use, and it does not have enough torque to pull heavy equipment up the mountains. He reported that while driving Burkhalter Gap, the truck died. The employee driving the truck pulled the emergency brake, but it did not hold, so he jackknifed the truck to halt it.

Walker said, “We’ve got a fund that we use to purchase vehicles and equipment, and we’ve got sufficient funds in there to purchase this truck.”

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