Well Water Testing
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
For the most part, north Georgia has had an abundance of rain this winter. As of the middle of February we had received over 12 inches since January 1st. As of the third week in February we had received over 15 inches of rain. Our average for the year is 62 inches, so if this pattern keeps up we will once again have abundant rain. Hopefully flooding has been minimal, but so much rain does bring to mind the importance of well safety. Wells that were overtopped by flood waters need to be flushed and tested for bacteria because of the potential danger of contaminants being washed into the well. Water from wells that has had a change in color as a result of the rain should also be checked.
UGA Extension Water Resource Management and Policy Specialist Gary Hawkins recommends pumping and flushing a minimum of 2 or 3 times the well volume to clear the system. This water should be discarded from an outside faucet and not from an inside faucet to bypass the home’s septic tank. After pumping the water, the well should be shock chlorinated. The well should be flushed again until there is no smell of chlorine bleach and, like before, the flushing step should be done through an outdoor faucet to bypass the septic system. This highly chlorinated water, if discharged to the septic tank, could cause problems with the bacterial colonies in the septic tank.
After the well is shock-chlorinated, flushed and the chlorine smell is gone (about two weeks), the well water should be tested for bacteria. Families can get their well water tested using their local county UGA Extension office for $46. Until the test for bacteria comes back, Hawkins strongly suggests that water for cooking or drinking be boiled before consumption. If the well still contains bacteria, the report will explain in detail how to treat the well.
To calculate the volume of water that should be pumped from a well, use the following calculation. Most of the well casings in this area are 6 inches so the factor for that size is 1.47. That means that there are 1.47 gallons of water for every foot in depth. Multiply the depth of water in the well by this factor to determine how much water is in the well. If your casing is not 6 inches, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office and we can get the right factor.
There are several methods to determine how much water you have flushed out, but the one that I use is to calculate how long it takes to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Divide that time by 5 to get the output per minute. Using this figure you can determine how many minutes you need to run the water to flush the number of gallons of water that was determined in the previous calculation. A couple of methods can be used to determine the depth of water in a well. If you can see the water in the well, lower a heavy object tied to a string down the well and measure the length of the string until you see the object touch the water. In a deep well, lower a heavy object like above until you hear the object hit the water and measure the length of string. If you cannot see the object hit the water, another way (but less accurate) is to drop a small stone into the well and count or time the seconds it takes for the stone to hit the water (you will have to listen closely for this.) Multiply the number of seconds by 32.2 and that will let you know how far the water is below the surface. Knowing the depth of the well and the depth from surface, subtract the two to get the height of the water column for calculating the volume of water in the well.
An example of this calculation is if you have a well that is 300 feet deep and the water level is 25 feet from the surface, subtracting 25 from 300 equals 275 which means you have 275 feet of water in the well. Multiply 275 by 1.47 to get the gallons in the well. That figure is 404.25 gallons. Using a factor of 3 pints per 100 gallons, you would need to apply a little over 12 pints of chlorine bleach in the well.
If you have any questions about this process or for more information on well water testing, contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
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Weather Summary for 2018
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
Back in December and already this year there’s been a lot of talk about how wet it’s been in the last year and while I agree with the comments I’ve been getting, I thought I’d do a little investigating and use facts to report on the weather of 2018. My data is coming from the UGA AEMN area weather stations.
The Automated Environmental Monitoring Network (AEMN) in Georgia was established in 1991 by the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. The objective of the AEMN is to collect reliable weather information for agricultural and environmental applications. Each station monitors air temperature, relative humidity, rainfall, solar radiation, wind speed, wind direction, soil temperature at 2, 4, and 8 inch depths, atmospheric pressure, and soil moisture every 1 second. Data are summarized at 15 minute intervals and at midnight a daily summary is calculated. A microcomputer at the Georgia Experiment Station initiates telephone calls to each station periodically and downloads the recorded data. The data are processed immediately and disseminated via the internet at www.weather.uga.edu.
We are fortunate to have three reporting stations in our area. They are Hillcrest Orchards in Ellijay, Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge and the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in Blairsville. For the purpose of this article, data has been averaged, but you can visit the web site and get more details and up to the minute weather.
Since rain has been the topic of conversation lately, let’s look at that first. In Blairsville, the total rainfall for 2018 was 76.01 inches and there were 164 rainy days. In Blue Ridge, the rainfall was 74.89 inches and 185 rainy days. In Ellijay there was 79.12 inches of rain and 168 rainy days. The average for our area is around 62 inches, but the statistic that stands out is the number of rainy days. During rainy days the plants did not receive good sunlight and that affects plant growth.
In looking at the month of December in 2018 Blairsville received 10.96 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Blue Ridge received 11.21 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. Ellijay received 10.92 inches of rain and 17 rainy days. This may seem like a lot of rain, but back in 2015 Blairsville got 13.35 inches of rain with 13 rainy days. Blue Ridge got 16.57 inches of rain with 16 rainy days. Ellijay got 16.04 inches of rain with 17 rainy days. 2015 was not that long ago, but it seems we have gotten more rain lately. It might be the number of rainy days that is making us think we are getting more rain that we actually are getting.
As for temperatures the average maximum temperature in Blairsville was 68.53 and the minimum was 47.26. The overall average was 57.23 which is about normal, but the number of days below 32 was 761 which is up from before, but below 2015. In Blue Ridge the average maximum temperature was 68.12 and the minimum was 48.46 and the overall average was 57.59, which is also about normal. The number of days below 32 was 699 which is up from before, but also below 2015. In Ellijay the average maximum temperature was 69.17 and the minimum was 48.81 with an overall average of 58.48 which is about normal. The number of days below 32 was 625 which is above earlier years except for 2015.
In conclusion the UGA weather stations are a great resource for information that provide facts about our weather conditions and now when people ask if it’s ever been this wet, you have the facts to say yes. If you need more information or different facts, visit the website and explore, or contact me in the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
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HIAWASSEE, Ga. – The National Weather Service issued an Flash Flood Watch which will take effect this evening, Thursday, Dec. 27, and a current Wind Advisory for north Georgia counties across FYN’s area of coverage.
Between Thursday evening through Saturday morning, light rain will move into the state Thursday, becoming moderate to heavy across most of north and central Georgia Thursday night. The heavy rain will persist into Friday before tapering off Friday night. Total rainfall of 1.5 to 3 inches is expected through Saturday morning with isolated higher amounts likely.
A second round of precipitation is expected to develop on Saturday, with an additional 1-2 inches of rain possible through New Year’s Eve.
A Wind Advisory is in effect for portions of north Georgia through 7 a.m. Friday morning, with sustained winds 10 to 20 mph, with gusts to 40 mph possible. The strongest gusts are expected across the higher elevations and ridgetops. With already saturated soils, strong winds could down trees and power lines.
Soil conditions remain highly moist and river levels remain elevated across the area. Even a relatively small amount of rainfall will produce significant runoff and flooding of creeks and rivers. Once the rain ends, high water could persist for several days after.
This information is from the National Weather Service. To see the full NWS Radar Image for Georgia please follow the link.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cindy will push east through the weekend. Expect the moisture associated with TS Cindy to interact with a boundary that will move south across the region through Saturday night. Given the already saturated soils and plentiful moisture expected with this front, we may see more flooding issues, especially across north GA.
Over the past 24 hours, we have observed 1-3 inches of rainfall, mainly north of I-20. This will be the main area of concern in terms of flooding potential.
Flash Flood Watch is in effect across north GA (along and north of I-20).
From 2 PM this afternoon through 8 PM Saturday evening.
An additional 1-2 inches with locally higher amounts is possible, potentially within the metro Atlanta area and points north and west. This may lead to flooding in low lying and flood prone areas, especially in urban areas and along Interstate 20. In addition, creeks, streams and rivers may overflow their banks.
Even though we have finally gotten some rain, we should always be conscious about conserving water. In this time of extreme drought we need to be even more aware of how much water we use and waste.
Water supply planners estimate that a typical household needs 0.4 to 0.5 acre-feet of water per year (approximately 150,000 gal) to satisfy the typical demands of a home. However, we can get by on far less. Home water use varies considerably, depending on the number of people in a household, plumbing fixtures, appliances, lot size, and other factors.
The largest water users inside the home are toilets, clothes washers, faucets, and showers. Toilets made before 1993 use 3.5 to 8 gallons per flush (gpf). High efficiency toilets manufactured after 1993 use 1.6 gpf or less. The date of manufacture of most toilets is on the underside of the tank lid. A family of four can save 14,000 to 25,000 gal/yr by switching from conventional toilets to the newer, more efficient ones. Here are some suggestions to lower water use in toilets. Install vacuum assisted, low-volume toilets. Consider not flushing the toilet unless absolutely necessary. Regularly check for toilet leaks by placing food coloring in your toilet tank. Repairing leaking toilets can save more than 600 gallons of water per month. Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Make sure your toilet flapper does not remain open after flushing. Avoid using toilet bowl cleaners such as toilet tank tablets. These products affect the pH of water in your toilet tank and can cause leaks by damaging the rubber and plastic parts of your toilet.
Showerheads currently manufactured in the U.S. have a flow-rate of 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. Here are some suggestions for increasing shower-use efficiency. Install a low-flow showerhead if you do not already have one. Keep your showers brief. Check the time you are in the shower so you know how long they last. A shower that lasts for five minutes using a low-flow showerhead uses 10 gallons of water while a 5 minute shower with a conventional shower head uses almost 13 gallons. Turn off the water while you lather up with soap and shampoo. Irrigate your indoor plants by placing a bucket in the shower to collect the water while waiting for it to warm up. Check the flow rate of your showerhead by using a 5-gallon bucket and a clock. Turn the shower on full and place a 5-gallon bucket under the shower for the amount of time you usually are the shower. Check and repair leaks in the tub diverter valve.
Install low-flow faucet aerators on all your household faucets. Some aerators can restrict flow to less than 1.0 gpm. Do not run the faucet continuously while washing dishes and hands, shaving, or brushing your teeth. Checking and repairing faucet leaks can save up to 140 gallons of water per week.
Conventional washing machines use between 35 to 50 gallons per load (gpl). The newer front-loading machines are more efficient and use between 18 to 20 gpl. Below are suggestions for reducing water use while clothes washing. Run the washing machine only when you have a full load of clothes. For lightly soiled laundry loads, use the shortest wash cycle. To avoid redundant washing, pre-treat stains on your clothes. Select the minimum water volume per load if your washer has a variable water volume setting. Regularly check washing machine hoses for leaks
Install a high efficiency dishwasher machine. Running the dishwasher only when it’s full can save 1,000 gallons of water per month. Running a full dishwasher usually uses less water than washing the same number of dishes by hand. Because the drying cycle of most dishwashing machines uses 1,500 watts per cycle, air or hand drying the dishes is more efficient and less expensive.
Just to give you an idea about how much water can be wasted take a look at these figures: 60 drops/minute = 192 gallons/month, 90 drops/minute = 210 gallons/month, and 120 drops/minute = 429 gallons/month. This article has been devoted to water conservation in the home. In the near future I will present an article about water conservation outside the home. Please note that some of the information in this article is from Colorado State Extension.
For more information, contact me at the Gilmer UGA Extension office.
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Gilmer County Extension Agent Fannin County Extension Coordinator
1123 Progress Road, Suite A 205 Church Street, Suite 1
Ellijay, GA 30540 Blue Ridge, GA 30513
Phone 706 635-4426 Phone 706 632-3061
Fax 706 636-4426 Fax 706 632-4718
Chattahoochee National Forest
November 12, 2016
Rough Ridge Fire Information: 470.208.2839
An area of high pressure will build into the region from the north and bring east to northeast winds today and freezing temperatures tonight. Maximum Temperature is 62F. Minimum Relative Humidity will 30%. Winds are expected to be East 6 – 11 mph then becoming 4-9 mph around 11am. Smoke will start settling in low areas around 7pm.
Yesterday: The monitor in Ellijay recorded hourly concentrations classified as very unhealthy, while drifting smoke resulted in a moderate AQI in Chatsworth and Blue Ridge.
Today: The upper level winds (5 to 7 miles per hour) are slowly dispersing the smoke in a southwesterly or westerly direction. Communities in the flow of the smoke may experience very unhealthy air quality.
Smoke impacts should be low in most of the communities listed below with the predicted weather pattern and anticipated fire behavior.
Tomorrow: Winds speeds will increase slightly (upper level winds between 6 to 8 miles per hour) and switch direction from Chatsworth/Eton to Benton and Ocoee and then Blue Ridge. These communities may experience an AQI of code orange or red.
Winds will disperse the smoke away from McCaysville.
Smoke will disperse towards Blue Ridge after the sun sets on Sunday.
Winds will disperse the smoke away from Ellijay.
Chatsworth and Eton
Today, already recorded hourly concentrations classified as very unhealthy. Smoke from wildfire dispersing towards Chatsworth and Eton today and a portion of tomorrow.
Benton and Ocoee, TN
Early tomorrow morning the winds shift toward Benton and Ocoee, TN.
Disclaimer: Weather and fire activity may change quickly and alter these air quality predictions. AQI estimates for the communities do not represent a full 24-hour period but, rather, reflect a period within the day where smoke impacts would be greatest.
Air Quality Index
What the Index means for your health with regards to particulates from smoke
Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people.
Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.
Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.
Health warnings of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.
Health alert: everyone may experience more serious health effects.
Several areas in North Georgia are affected from flood waters which closed some roads plus Fannin and Gilmer County Schools. Citizens sent multiple pics and some videos to FYN depicting the water levels and showing some roads covered with water. Continuous rain over the past few days and heavy downpours throughout the night created flooding conditions in several areas in Fannin and Gilmer Counties.
This was sent in from a viewer in Fannin County earlier this morning:
“I am listening to the fire repeater and the sheriff’s repeater. It sounds like Hemptown Creek is out of its banks both in the Haymore Farm Road area and near where it empties into the Toccoa. They are watching the Toccoa River and I just heard the Sheriff ask if TVA had shut off Blue Ridge Dam. Robert Graham, EMA Director, responded that TVA had the Dam shut off and that they would try to hold as much water back as they could.”
First Response teams and other local authorities have reported roads, bridges, and other areas flooding. Please use caution while traveling and should you see an area covered in water please do not continue as you may not be able to tell how deep the water and this could create a dangerous situation. FYN will continue to monitor and inform as the day continues. Check out our FetchYourNews Page for updates.
Photo to the left Courtesy of Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office / To the Right – Lucius Road Cherry Log, GA FetchYourNews.com
Some areas are seeing a decrease while others are still on the rise. Stay safe.