Oconee County government to conduct water service line inventory

Oconee County launches what officials in Watkinsville say is a community-wide assessment of drinking water systems as mandated by the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

From the Oconee Co government website…

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is mandating a nation-wide assessment of drinking water systems, and Oconee County has launched a community-wide project to identify what every service line (i.e., pipe that brings water to your home) in the county’s system is made of. Lines can be made of lead, plastic, brass, steel or iron. Lead pipes are the primary source of lead in drinking water. Identifying any lead service lines is critical to removing this source of lead from the community.

The service lines the county maintains are those that run from the water main to the meter box on the owner’s property. Oconee County Water Resources does not maintain any lead service lines, and Oconee County’s drinking water sources do not contain lead.

The purpose of this inventory is to determine the materials used in water pipes running from the meter box to the house or other structure. These lines were installed by the builder and belong to the property owner.

We are using several methods to help identify customer service line material type, including a review of existing records. The use of lead pipes was prohibited in 1986. The Environmental Protection Division (EPD) allows utilities to assume that pipes installed after January 1, 1990, are lead-free.

For houses and other structures built prior to January 1, 1990, inspections of service lines at the meter box will be conducted. This work will be done as part of GPS mapping of all meter boxes in the county by Suburban Consulting Engineers, Inc., beginning in June 2024.

Any water customers who are identified as having pipes containing lead will be notified via telephone and mail. Next steps will include testing of tap water in the identified building and information regarding remediation alternatives. Testing of tap water will be provided free of charge to customers who are determined to have lead-containing service lines.

Once completed, the Service Line Inventory will be available on the county’s website, and a hard copy of the inventory will also be available at the Oconee County Administrative Building, located at 7635 Macon Highway, Watkinsville.

A Town Hall discussing the Service Line Inventory will be held in October 2024 at the Oconee County Administrative Building. The public is invited to attend a presentation reviewing the Service Line Inventory process and results and ask any question they may have.

For buildings on wells, the Georgia Department of Public Health recommends a chemical screening (W33C) of private wells every three years. This chemical screening, which is recommended in addition to annual bacterial testing, includes a test for lead. Private Well Chemical Tests (W33C) are available through local testing providers.

Visit Oconee County’s Water Service Line Inventory Portal at www.oconeecounty.com/SLInventory for additional information.

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant

Tim Bryant hosts Classic City Today, 6-10 weekday mornings on 98.7FM & AM 1340 WGAU in Athens.

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