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Vandalism believed to have caused spill
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A mid-day sewage spill last week caused some alarm for the local water authority.

Etowah Water and Sewer Authority officials believe vandalism is to blame for a wastewater spill around 3 p.m. March 17, near Taffar Creek between Country Crossing subdivision and Dawson Forest Road.

A log, about 6 inches in diameter and 7 feet long, and a large limb placed into a manhole caused sewage to back-up in the sewer collection system and overflow.

"Due to the vandalism at the manhole, some of the wastewater overflowed into the creek," said Assistant General Manager Tim Collins. "We believe it happened sometime late [March 16] and the pipes slowly backed up over time."

The authority estimated 120,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed the manhole.

"No customers have been affected," Collins said. "We are currently sampling upstream and downstream, but so far no waste water has been found in the creek."

Authority and contract employees located and identified the problem, removed the log and limb, and returned the sewer collection system to normal operations by around 6 p.m. that day.

As soon as the authority discovered the spill, authority staff began the required monitoring protocol, notifying the media, posting warning signs around the affected area and testing the site regularly.

Georgia Environmental Protection Division and Dawson County Environmental Health Department were both notified.

"We will be testing the site regularly for a week," Collins said. "After that, we will report our findings to the Georgia EPD."

Collins also said that a vandalism report has been filed with the Dawson County Sheriff's Office.

"If anyone has any information about this, please call the sheriff's office," he said. "It is very costly when vandalism of this nature happens."

Anyone with information is asked to call the Dawson County Sheriff's Office at (706) 344-3535.