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Augusta bans all outdoor watering

Power outage at pumping station causes drops in levels, prompts city to expand its restrictions indefinitely

Web posted Jun. 01 at 11:46 PM By Clarissa J. Walker Staff Writer

After losing power late Thursday at the city's main water pumping station, county officials issued a total outdoor watering ban for all Augusta residents.

The ban went into effect at about 9 p.m. after several of the city's water tanks - filled usually with an electric pumping system - were nearly emptied during a power outage.

``We wanted people to stop watering because the tanks dropped real low in that 45 minutes that the pumps were not running,'' said Augusta Utilities Director Max Hicks.

At around 8 p.m., the Highland Avenue pumping station switched to generator power after one of the plant's three major power sources blew a fuse, according to utilities officials. Moments later, the Fort Gordon pumping station lost power as well.

Electricity company spokesman James Peters confirmed that it was a Georgia Power equipment failure that caused the outage and that workers were investigating the source of the problem.

Tanks that ordinarily hold 30 feet of water lowered to levels of around five feet, Mr. Hicks said. Four tanks that store from 500,000 to a million gallons for the Belair, Berckmans and Tobacco roads and Walton Way areas dropped as well.

Utilities officials say that the ban will be in effect until further notice. And while power was restored by 9:30 p.m., the pumping station continued to use generator power while water levels in the tanks were restored to normal, Mr. Hicks said.

Reach Clarissa J. Walker at (706) 828-3851 or

-- (, June 02, 2000

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