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Water quality improved for Pigeon Creek
Problem well offline while odor cause explored
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Water quality has improved for residents living in Pigeon Creek Estates following the city's move to reroute service through a new well.

"It's fine. There's no smell. Actually when I stand in the shower, it's almost a sweet smell," said Colleen Simrell. "I want to taste it, but I'm too scared."

The apprehension dates back to 2009 when residents in the neighborhood off Shoal Creek Road first reported a foul, sulfuric odor in their city well water.

Tests indicate the odor is iron bacteria, which experts say does not pose a health or safety threat.

Dawsonville council members last month approved a motion directing City Manager David Headley to move forward with identifying what is causing the odor.

"The improper installation that occurred of the pump and the riser pipe resulted in cross threading, or loosely threaded riser pipe, resulting in aeration of water in the well during pumping," he said during Monday's city council meeting.

"The check valve was installed on top of the pump and should have been least 21 feet above where the pump is. It was kind of sitting down, which created a turbulence on that area."

The well is no longer providing water to the subdivision.

"Pigeon Creek is being supplied with water from alternative wells, springs and incremental Etowah Water and Sewer water," Headley said. "At this time, I have been in constant contact with some residents of Pigeon Creek who have indicated the water does not smell and appears improved."

A full exploration of the well and its distribution system are being studied, according to Headley.

"I have requested...consultants to monitor the hydrogen gas in the distribution system. Once it leaves the pump [to see] what happens after that, so we'll put a gas in that will identify this sulfite gas and then we'll see if it's part of our distribution line or if it's something that happens at the source," he said.

A second sludge sample of the silt from inside the riser pipe has also been collected for analysis.

"Contaminated silt will be removed prior to the plugging and then clean sand will be added," Headley said.