Water is flowing again in the City of Smithville but it may be Friday afternoon before the "Boil Water" Advisory is lifted.
Hunter Hendrixson, Secretary-Treasurer for the City of Smithville says the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has asked the city to collect twenty water samples for lab testing in McMinnville. He says the state wants the samples taken from areas near the city's water tanks, where levels ran so low Wednesday. Hendrixson says if the test results check out okay, then the "Boil Water" advisory will probably be lifted, but that may not be for 24 hours or sometime Friday afternoon.
In the meantime, the "Boil Water Advisory" remains in effect.
The Cookeville office of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Wednesday afternoon asked the City of Smithville to issue a "Boil Water Advisory" once water service was restored. The city's water treatment plant began pumping again Wednesday night.
Because of the "Boil Water Advisory", DeKalb County Schools, the Smithville Head Start Center, the Smithville Day School, and the Smithville First Methodist Pre-School all closed for the day today (Thursday).
The notice states as follows" Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have reason to suspect that the water distributed to the customers of the City of Smithville and DeKalb Utility District may be contaminated. Until further notice, water customers are advised to boil water prior to using it for drinking or food preparation. As a precaution, customers should take the following step:
The water should be heated to a vigorous boil, and then rolling boil should be maintained for one minute to insure disinfection."
Although most customers of the DeKalb Utility District were unaffected by the disruption in water service Wednesday due to ample supplies, the "Boil Water Advisory" included them because the City of Smithville is the primary source of water for the DUD.
City officials apparently discovered early Wednesday that it was going to take stronger chemicals to treat the water from the intake because of the condition of the lake in the Sligo area. The water, as shown in these pictures, was very muddy and filled with floating debris due to the recent floods. With the city being unable to pump water to town until it was properly treated, the levels in the city's water tanks began to drop, which caused low water line pressure problems for customers.
Hendrixson says the city later had to cut off the supply from the water tanks before they ran dry."We had to cut the tanks off today (Wednesday). We were hoping not to get to this point, but unfortunately it did. We can't run the tanks completely dry, although they were basically almost dry. The McMinnville Water Treatment Plant is letting us use one of their chemicals, which is a little stronger than the one we were using to cut through all this dirty water, with all the mud and sediment in it. It seems to be doing a better job. We are currently treating water and are now pumping back out to our water tanks. We just ask everybody to be patient."
"It's taken longer to treat the water due to the trash in the lake. The lake water is extremely muddy right now due to several reasons. The Corps of Engineers discharged an extremely large amount of water overnight (Tuesday) and the lake level dropped about twenty feet. That stirred up the bottom of the lake making the lake water extremely dirty and when we pumped that water here to the plant it took longer to treat before we could send it out to the water tanks in town."
"It's not a city operational issue nor a water plant issue, it's a lake issue. The (Corps) hasn't released much water downstream toward Nashville since the floods, but they're releasing a lot more now. Anyone who has been around our water intake near Sligo bridge can tell that the lake water there is nasty. The nastiest that I have ever seen it. Again, because of that it just took us longer to treat the water and therefore it took us longer to get it out to the water tanks."