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Former City Councilman Suing over Summerville Water Crisis

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages, plus $55,800 per day for each violation it lists, plus attorneys fees, and an injunction against continued violations.

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Earl Parris, who served two years on the Summerville City Council in the 1990s and again for four years ending in 2020, is suing Mount Vernon Mills, the Town of Trion, Ryan Dejuan Jarrett, 3M, Daikin America, Huntsman International, and Pulcra Chemicals over a water crisis that forced the City of Summerville to distribute bottled water for weeks.

Parris wants the people responsible for the contaminated water to cover the cost of a long-term solution, The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

Parris’ lawsuit alleges the town of Trion’s Water Pollution Control Plant disposed sludge and biosolids in Raccoon Creek, which is the main source for Summerville’s water. It also alleges the company Mount Vernon Mills has discharged harmful chemicals into Trion’s plant that then entered Summerville’s water source.

Back in February of 2020, the EPA notified the city of Summerville that some of the town’s drinking water had chemicals in it that have been linked to serious health problems, known as PFOA and PFOS.

That forced the city and its residents into a water crisis. The city provided bottled water for several months.

The suit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in damages, plus $55,800 per day for each violation it lists, plus attorneys fees, and an injunction against continued violations. (Scroll down to read the full lawsuit).



From the City of Summerville’s website:

Status Updates regarding the PFOA/PFOS Concentration Levels
Updated 11/12/2020

PFOA/PFOS Water Advisory Lifted
Effective 11/12/2020 the Georgia EPD has lifted the City of Summerville PFOA/PFOS health advisory for all City of Summerville water customers.

After installing the GAC filters at the Raccoon Creek treatment plant, PFAS/PFOS concentration levels through the system are safely below the health advisory threshold.

Test Well Status

Clearing sediment from the test well during construction.

The City of Summerville first test well is producing 600 gallons (the max capacity of the pump used for testing) of water per minute (GPM) at a depth of 364ft. This well will still need to be developed into a production well, and then connected to the City of Summerville water distribution system upon approval from Georgia EPD. The engineers send plans and specs to the Georgia EPD for approval of all phases of the project.

The City of Summerville Public Works has laid 2,000 feet of 16” pipe on Filter Plant Road in preparation for connecting the new well to the City’s water distribution system. Another delivery of 4,000 feet of 16” pipe is expected by September 1st. With the completion of this additional pipe installation on Filter Plant Road, the City will stop at the intersection of Highway 48 until Georgia DOT has approved plans for the installation of another 12,000 feet of 16” pipe to the City’s production well site off of Highway 48.

How much has it cost to build the new well so far?

City employees installing water line on Filter Plant Road.

As of July 31, 2020 the City has invested $128,702.75 in the test well.

To reduce the overall cost of the project, the City has self-performed the installation of 2,000 feet of a 16” water line on Filter Plant Road. Another delivery of 4,000 feet of 16” pipe is expected by September 1st.

How much more is it expected to cost to complete the well?
The cost of a production well is undetermined because this will be a bid process. The City is actively pursuing multiple grants and funding for a permanent production well, along with procuring property for additional well sites. Final costs are not known at this time. There is no estimate on the completion date.

16″ water pipe being delivered for installation.

Funding of the remaining 16” water pipe to the well site is also being pursued.



Carbon Based Pilot Study for Removal of PFOA/PFOS
The City of Summerville is working with a pilot study using carbon as a removal method of PFOA/PFOS at the Raccoon Creek Water Treatment Plant. This system is referred to as granulated activated carbon (GAC). Test results have been promising. As of October 5th, installation has begun on the new GAC filters for Racoon Creek. The goal is to complete the installation within 3-5 days of starting installation. Once the filters are installed, samples will be collected and tested by a state certified lab.


More on Summerville’s Drinking water:

Group says some Chattooga water “unsafe,” contains carcinogens

Group lists Summerville water as ‘polluted,’ ‘contaminated’

Summerville City Council searches for solutions after boil water advisory

Live Healthy Group asks for help – Chattooga County Water Crisis

Update from EPD on Summerville Water Advisory

Group lists Summerville water as ‘contaminated’

Summerville Cited For Drinking Water Violation

Notice of Drinking Water Health Advisory Level Exceedance for Raccoon Water Plant City of Summerville Public Drinking Water System

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Casie Bryant is the NW Georgia Regional Manager for AllOnGeorgia.

1 Comment

1 Comment


    March 16, 2021 at 3:45 am

    Thank you, Mr. Earl H Parris . As I recall, in the early 1990’s the Coosa River Basin Project , working with local residents of Chattooga & Walker Counties, had professionals from the private and government sectors test water from local wells and from municipal sources. All tests indicated high levels of arsenic & lead – residue from human sludge applied to fields, creek banks and sinking in to contaminate ground water. The human sludge was being given to individuals (by Trion Water Treatment) to spread on grazing fields (fields treated with sludge should not be used for 100 years as a livestock grazing source). 26 children who ate Jack n The Box Burgers had died due to eating beef that had been grazed on sludge treated fields, and, this sludge contamination was in all our local ground water. Government Agencies came in and fined the City of Trion (with addition fines daily) until their water treatment system was corrected to federal/state standards. In the 1960’s, the Federal Government funded water treatment facilities in every GA. city…The City of La Fayette used those funds to build a Water Treatment Facility that truly bought La Fayette into the 21st Century. Since the 1960’s, Area Public School Students take yearly school field trips to this beautiful nontoxic and functional facility. The City of Trion did not build a modern facility to Federal & State Standards (where did the money go?). FYI – Geological and Other Studies in the 1950’s & 1960’s proved Walker County (GA.) and north Chattooga County sit on top of one of the largest underground lakes in North America. Above ground run-off and Ground water contaminates ruins / poisons our massive pure water supply underground. We must protect the massive source of fresh water God has blessed us with…again, thank you Mr. Earl H Parris.

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