With no running water since last Thursday morning, downtown resident frustrated by lack of communication
Holly Hattaway considers herself fortunate.
Although her apartment has been without any running water since last Thursday morning, Hattaway's parents live around here, and she's been able to take showers at her parents' house since last week.
Some of her neighbors aren't so fortunate, however.
"My one neighbor, the only shower she's had since last Thursday is when she stood outside in a rainstorm," Hattaway said. "They have a baby, too. They don't have any family around here, so right now it's really tough for them."
The bad news for those impacted is that it's not over. The contractor hired by the City still hasn't identified the exact location of the secondary water main break, which occurred after the initial break from last Thursday morning was successfully repaired. Quite possibly, the larger secondary break is underneath a swath of North Columbia just south of its intersection with West Mongtgomery. That would mean that contractors would have to jackhammer the road and dig underneath.
For Hattaway and her neighbors, Friday is a best-case scenario, although it could stretch into the weekend or possibly early next week.
Gary Thrower, a former mayor of Milledgeville, also has been without any running water at his office – Cornerstone Medical Staffing – located in the Old Lafayette complex. Thrower says that he and other employees have been filling up gallon jugs of water at home before work and then bringing them into the office, all in order to flush the toilet.
"It's a nuisance for sure, but it's something that happens occasionally in towns and cities all over the state and country," Thrower said. "So many of these water lines are 50, 60 years old. A lot of towns are struggling with the exact same issues. It's not just Milledgeville."
The exact number of people with no running water isn't exactly known. WMAZ on Wednesday ran with the headline "Around 50 Milledgeville homes without water for a week after main break." Not all of the properties impacted by the water main break are "homes," however. The Old Lafayette student apartments, for example, has just one water account with the city, even though there are 39 different apartments in the complex. Also, many of the "homes" in the impacted area are not single family and instead broken into apartment units.
Hattaway added that it feels as if city leaders have been downplaying the issue. The first media release from the city last Thursday made no mention of any customers without water. Instead, the release made reference to "low pressure" and the need to boil water before consuming. Hattaway said that she and her neighbors first started calling the water department last Friday and insisting that they had no running water, whatsoever.
"I feel like the person I spoke to almost didn't believe me. (The employee) just told me that it was low pressure and I just needed to boil my water,"Hattaway said. "The whole time I was like 'I don't think you understand. I have no water.'"
Hattaway added that "the city still hasn't acknowledged that some of us have no water" and that "that's not what they've been telling everybody."
City Manager Hank Griffeth told Baldwin2k News that he understands residents' frustrations.
"I wish there was a way that we could go faster. I really do," Griffeth said. "Our employees have been working late into the night, and the contractor is doing all that it can right now, too. It's an unfortunate situation."