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Watch for floods; boil your water

The National Weather Service (NWS) has extended a flash flood watch until 6 p.m. Friday for Pulaski, Wythe and Carroll counties as a result of forecast rain and ice buildup on the New River.
Pulaski County has been under a flood watch since last weekend as a result of melting ice and snow and the potential need to conduct emergency releases of water at Buck Dam in Carroll County.
According to NWS, large chunks of ice broke loose in the river when unseasonably warm weather moved into the area late last week.
John Shepelwich, a spokesman for Appalachian Power Company, said the company issued advisories that it may have to conduct emergency releases of water at the dam as a result of the ice, but no emergency releases had actually occurred as of this morning. He said the advisory may have to be continued beyond 6 p.m. Friday dependent upon the weather.
Shepelwich said it was the ice flowing over Buck Dam that that resulted in Pulaski County Public Service Authority issuing a boil water notice for the county and Town of Dublin Tuesday. He said the ice flow stirred up sediment in the river.
The boil notice was officially lifted Wednesday and County Engineer Ronnie Coake said he does not anticipate the need to issue new alerts if there are emergency releases of water at Buck Dam.
Coake, who oversees water distribution and sewerage collection for the county, said it was the amount of sediment – not bacteria – that was in the treated water that caused the boil notice to be issued.
He explained that water from Claytor Lake normally is treated for 100 NTUs (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) of sediment. However, the ice chunks apparently caused the sediment level (turbidity) to be higher than normal at 800 NTUs.
Coake said some of the 800 NTU water got into the treatment system before operators were able to contain it and adjust the treatment level.
“Now that we’re aware of it, we can control it so customers won’t have to boil their water,” he added. “No one had anticipated it going that high, but now we can.”
As for customers who drank some of the water before learning of the boil notice, Coake said they should not worry.
“If they didn’t notice the clarity was off, then it probably wasn’t a problem anyway,” he said. Even if a customer consumed some water that was affected, he said chances are slim it would cause any health issues.
The boil notice was issued out of an abundance of caution until the system could be flushed of the high turbidity water.
“We would rather issue the notice and be on the safe side than not issue one and wish we had,” Coake added. He said officials took calls from citizens with questions about the boil notice until about 9 p.m. Tuesday. “Most people were very patient and understanding.”
As for the flood watch, NWS points out that if emergency releases become necessary at Buck Dam, it could result in “significant rises along the New River, downstream from the dam to Claytor Lake. … So far, releases from the dam have been minimal, but there is a potential for more significant releases ”
If so, flooding could occur in flood prone areas along the river, including the New River Trail.

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Watch for floods; boil your water

The National Weather Service (NWS) has extended a flash flood watch until 6 p.m. Friday for Pulaski, Wythe and Carroll counties as a result of forecast rain and ice buildup on the New River.
Pulaski County has been under a flood watch since last weekend as a result of melting ice and snow and the potential need to conduct emergency releases of water at Buck Dam in Carroll County.
According to NWS, large chunks of ice broke loose in the river when unseasonably warm weather moved into the area late last week.
John Shepelwich, a spokesman for Appalachian Power Company, said the company issued advisories that it may have to conduct emergency releases of water at the dam as a result of the ice, but no emergency releases had actually occurred as of this morning. He said the advisory may have to be continued beyond 6 p.m. Friday dependent upon the weather.
Shepelwich said it was the ice flowing over Buck Dam that that resulted in Pulaski County Public Service Authority issuing a boil water notice for the county and Town of Dublin Tuesday. He said the ice flow stirred up sediment in the river.
The boil notice was officially lifted Wednesday and County Engineer Ronnie Coake said he does not anticipate the need to issue new alerts if there are emergency releases of water at Buck Dam.
Coake, who oversees water distribution and sewerage collection for the county, said it was the amount of sediment – not bacteria – that was in the treated water that caused the boil notice to be issued.
He explained that water from Claytor Lake normally is treated for 100 NTUs (Nephelometric Turbidity Units) of sediment. However, the ice chunks apparently caused the sediment level (turbidity) to be higher than normal at 800 NTUs.
Coake said some of the 800 NTU water got into the treatment system before operators were able to contain it and adjust the treatment level.
“Now that we’re aware of it, we can control it so customers won’t have to boil their water,” he added. “No one had anticipated it going that high, but now we can.”
As for customers who drank some of the water before learning of the boil notice, Coake said they should not worry.
“If they didn’t notice the clarity was off, then it probably wasn’t a problem anyway,” he said. Even if a customer consumed some water that was affected, he said chances are slim it would cause any health issues.
The boil notice was issued out of an abundance of caution until the system could be flushed of the high turbidity water.
“We would rather issue the notice and be on the safe side than not issue one and wish we had,” Coake added. He said officials took calls from citizens with questions about the boil notice until about 9 p.m. Tuesday. “Most people were very patient and understanding.”
As for the flood watch, NWS points out that if emergency releases become necessary at Buck Dam, it could result in “significant rises along the New River, downstream from the dam to Claytor Lake. … So far, releases from the dam have been minimal, but there is a potential for more significant releases ”
If so, flooding could occur in flood prone areas along the river, including the New River Trail.

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