Extreme drought conditions continue to exist across much of Georgia, and Thomaston Mayor Hays Arnold said residents need to continue to do what they can to conserve water. Speaking at the Thomaston City Council meeting on Sept. 18, Mayor Arnold said the drought was one of the main topics of a meeting he attended recently in Atlanta.
“I attended a meeting two weeks ago in Atlanta with the EPD, discussing the water situation and the needs of local communities and what we’re facing,” said Arnold. “The fact is, we still have drought situations going on. The big thing is conservation. We know that you can conserve so much water with a shower head or with a low flow toilet or those sorts of items. But what the City of Thomaston has done in replacement of these water lines has been phenomenal as a conservation type of an effort.”
The mayor asked City Manager Patrick Comiskey for statistics on how much water the city has saved because of replacing water lines. Comiskey replied that he cannot give data on how much water is being pumped out because they are in the process of changing to a more accurate meter. But, he said, service calls for leaks have been reduced.
“We know from the number of leaks and the service calls we had been having, that we have reduced the amount of workload on our water company,” said Comiskey. “People can probably recall several years back always seeing a water leak somewhere. Because we’ve hit over 15 miles of water line replacement in town, it has been a positive as far as reducing those service issues.”
At the meeting, Comiskey also gave an update of water line replacements to date, and what the city will be working on over the next year.
“We’ve had almost $9 million that we’ve spent so far, and another $1 million in work that we have to be done over the next year,” the city manager said. “Recently the council received word that the application for a $500,000 CDBG grant was approved. That project was to further our plan, which was to work on replacing water lines in the area between Crawley and Church Street, Poplar and West Walker. The areas were Plum, Cherry, Nottingham, that area of town. We’re also looking at trying to do some work at Thompson Street heading north on Church and Center streets, and possibly as far over as Bethel, to go over and meet that project area and make it one big project.
“The council has replaced out lines since 2005. We did Charles Avenue and Sladen. We have since done the south end of town last year. We’ve also done the west side as far over as the hospital and the Overlook neighborhood.
“This year we’ve been working in East Thomaston, in the area of the Avenues. We’ve been moving lines from the back to the front and using existing lines. In East Thomaston over by the Peerless Road area, we’re actually replacing lines out as well as moving services from the back to the front.
“This year we’re looking at starting to look toward Silvertown/West Village, about moving lines from the back to the front like we’ve done in the Avenues area,” Comiskey added. “We think that will be good bang for the buck. When we go north up Church and Center streets, we’re going to be looking at trying to replace out mains, as well as services, along the main business corridor.”
City Attorney Joel Bentley noted that through the assistance of local property owners, the city was able to move water lines and meters from the back to the front of approximately 350 houses in the East Thomaston area without cost to residents, and that residents have noticed an increase in water pressure with the move. He urged residents in other areas to work with the city when needed.
“As we work through this project, Patrick or myself or somebody from our water provider may contact individuals in the community, and I encourage them to please work with us, and to understand that projects are going to move slowly and may be a little bit dusty, and we may call on you to execute certain documents to assist us,” said Bentley. “But Mr. Comiskey has made a concerted effort through the council and through the mayor to update this water system, and I look forward to continuing to working with him on it.”