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Official: Smelly city water is safe for consumption

DAWSONVILLE — Despite a lingering foul odor, water from a city of Dawsonville well is safe for human consumption, according to officials.

City Manager David Headley said the well that services the Pigeon Creek Estates subdivision has been inspected and classified by industry experts as safe.

Officials with the Environmental Protection Division inspected the well water in late April.

"The city passed the inspection," he said. "The city has been and currently is in compliance with all regulatory agencies."

Residents in the neighborhood off Shoal Creek Road first reported the odor in the well water as early as 2009.

Based on a professional analysis and recommendation in 2012, the city has chemically treated the water, spent $20,000 on a filtering system and converted the well pump from a 1-inch system to a 2-inch system.

Upon recent citizen complaints, the city also conducted several independent tests.

All tests reveal obnoxious smell, classified as iron bacteria, but no threat to health or safety, according to Headley.

While the origins of iron bacteria occur naturally in the environment, Headley said the city is looking at its options in an effort to eliminate the odors.

Resident Colleen Simrell said others who live in the neighborhood have done their part by changing out hot water tanks and using bleach to eliminate the odor. Nothing has worked.

"I understand chlorine is used to help fight off the bacteria. I'm the first to admit it, it is not a detriment to your health to drink the water, but the irritants are staining our tiles ... whatever is in our showers, our toilet bowls, our sinks, clothing and the smell," she said.

In a unanimous vote earlier this month, city council approved a motion directing Headley to move forward with identifying what is causing the foul odor.

"Discussions have taken place but have not been decided on until additional testing is performed. The city will provide safe drinking water by its charter as it has in the past, as stated," Headley said.

"The obligation from the city to the citizenry is to protect and provide clean and safe water that is being accomplished.

"Moving forward the city will continue to provide the level of service its citizens expect and we will do what is expected to remove this irritant within our limits."