UPDATE: Boil water advisory closes some Fort Oglethorpe businesses Thursday

By WRCB Staff, originally posted on November 18, 2016


FORT OGLETHORPE, GA (WRCB) – UPDATE: There was a rush to buy bottled water in Ft. Oglethorpe on Thursday after a drinking water sample tested positive for e.coli.

Residents were under a boil advisory for most of the day. It was lifted later in the evening, once the city realized the contaminated sample was an “isolated incident.”

Residents we spoke with were angry and disgusted. Many of them flocked to stores to buy water in bulk.

Shopping carts at Ft. O’s Walmart Neighborhood Market were piled high with bottled water. Customer Johnny Hayes was stocking up, worried that his water was contaminated with e.coli.

“We’ve probably purchased, all together, about 15 gallons,” Hayes said.

The city issued a boil order for all customers on Thursday after e.coli bacteria was detected in a drinking water sample the day before.

“They waited a full day to tell us, and my wife’s wanting to whoop somebody,” said Hayes.

The advisory forced several restaurants to close, including Steak n Shake on Battlefield Parkway.

Workers at Sonic also turned away customers. An employee told us they were “not taking any chances.”

“Oh, boy, this is not good,” said customer Chris Morgan.

Jeanne Chambers was buying bottled water so she could cook at home.

“I have Thanksgiving cooking to do,” Chambers said. “We’re having our get-together this weekend, and I’ve got to cook.”

Some customers were making more than one stop, fearful they’d run out of clean water.

“I didn’t want to be greedy or hoard anything, but I just wanted to get several gallons of drinking water,” Chambers explained. “And then, I realized, I might need some more in case it goes on for a while.”

The city cancelled the boil order at 6 p.m. after additional tests came back negative.

“We certainly know this was alarming to the citizens,” said Mayor Earl Gray. “But the good news is, if you’ve been drinking the water all day today, you don’t have to worry.”

Gray said the sample was contaminated during a routine test that was taken from an outdoor hydrant.

“We’re going to go through the training again. We’re going to replace the type of gloves that we’ve been wearing. We’re going to replace the disinfectant that we’ve been using,” Gray promised. “Hopefully, we won’t have this problem again.”

Over the next week, workers will be taking random water samples across the city. We’re told additional voluntary testing will go on for the next month.

PREVIOUS STORY: The boil water notice issued for Fort Oglethorpe residents after e.coli bacteria was found has been lifted.

The city mayor says the sample of water that contained the bacteria was an “isolated incident.”

The e.coli bacteria were reportedly found in the water system on Nov. 16, 2016.

The city’s water is safe to drink without boiling it first.

Channel 3 will have more on this story coming up tonight on Eyewitness News at 11.

ORIGINAL STORY: A Boil Water Notice has been issued for residents living in the City of Fort Oglethorpe after e.coli bacteria was found in the drinking water.

Officials say the Boil Water Notice applies to all areas that are served by the Fort Oglethorpe Water System.

The e.coli bacteria were reportedly found in the water system on Nov. 16, 2016. E.coli bacteria can make you sick, and are a concern for those with weak immune systems.

Officials say residents using the Fort Oglethorpe Water System should boil water for at least a minute, and let it cool before using it. Another alternative is to use bottled water.

The boiled water should be used for: drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.

Officials with the City of Fort Oglethorpe will notify residents when water tests show no more e.coli bacteria, and when it is safe to no longer boil water.

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