Drinking Water Supply Survives Flood

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Finally, some good news. The overflowing Cumberland River didn't knock out our drinking water supply. The river has crested and officials say our only operational water treatment plant was spared the flood.

"The Omohundro water treatment plant does continue to operate at normal capacity," Metro spokeswoman Kris Mumford says this morning. "The sandbagging operation is working and maintaining flood protection."

As the river rose yesterday, jail inmates joined city workers and volunteers in stacking sandbags to save the Omohundro plant. Officials were so worried they were asking surrounding counties whether they could haul in drinking water for the 600,000 families in Nashville and Brentwood that rely on Metro taps. But the river crested about 7 p.m. at 51.9 feet, the highest level since 1937, and finally began to recede.

Now, the question is whether the water plant can keep up with demand. Our only other plant was submerged over the weekend. Officials don't know how long it'll remain out of operation. Mayor Karl Dean is asking everyone to use water only for drinking and food preparation. So far, compliance hasn't been so great, according to officials. Incredibly, people have been seen watering their lawns and flowers, and there are car washes still operating.

"We’re really urging citizens to conserve water," Mumford says. "In essence, we have one plant and we used to have two, so we’re asking people to cut their water use at least in half."

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