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South Fayette water plant back online; manganese problem fixed

The South Fayette Water Treatment Plant is now producing water again, according to an email update from Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown, and environmental regulators report the water is meeting state guidelines and is thus "safe to drink."

The plant was shut down Tuesday of last week after a spike in manganese was discovered in lab testing, officials said. The county commission held an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon to extend a contract with an engineering firm that was working on the water treatment plants so the manganese problem could be addressed.

The consultant, Stuart Jeffcoat of CH2M Hill, was able to make changes that reduced the manganese levels to zero parts per million at the South Fayette plant, Chairman Brown reported. Meanwhile, the manganese levels reported at the Crosstown water treatment plant were being reported as 0.006 ppm from the 2 million-gallon clear well and 0.017 ppm from the 4 million-gallon clear well.

The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has confirmed that at these levels of manganese, the water is considered safe to drink. Ted Jackson of EPD's water quality program told The Citizen that manganese in drinking water is generally not considered a health risk unless the levels become high. It can, however, cause problems with taste, odor and appearance.

Moderate spikes in manganese must be monitored from the raw water supply to determine how to appropriately treat the water, Jackson noted.

"They need to know that, very much, so they can adjust their treatment accordingly," Jackson said.

"We owe a debt of gratitude to Stuart Jeffcoat of CH2MHill for assisting our staff in resolving our water emergency," Brown wrote.

Both plants are in full production, Brown reported.

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