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Fayette County water employees disciplined, but not firerd | News

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Fayette County water employees disciplined, but not firerd

FAYETTE COUNTY, GA - One week after 11 Alive told you about some scathing reports blasting the Fayette County water system, five employees were disciplined on Friday.

RELATED | Smelly water in Fayette County resolved

Last Friday, Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown said, "We're gonna have to make some changes, there's no doubt about it. We're gonna have to change some personnel."

But a week later, top officials of the Fayette Water Authority still have their jobs.

RELATED | Fayette County calls in outside help over foul water problem

Instead of firing anyone, County Manager Steve Rapson released a statement saying five employees "have been disciplined in response to findings associated with recent water problems."

The problem was foul smelling water that plagued much of the county earlier in the summer.

At first the county suspected nature was the reason, but then Georgia's Environmental Protection Division found several man made violations.

It also cited poor maintenance, poor training, improper credentials and possibly even fraud.

"There'll be some monetary consequences with this for these gentlemen, retraining, not just for themselves, but for the entire staff," Commission Chairman Steve Brown told 11 Alive on Friday.

So why wasn't anyone fired?

Brown said he was simply outvoted by other board members.

"My opinion has not changed," he said.

"If it were up to me we'd probably take some more severe steps, but it takes three on our board to do anything and we had a couple of gentlemen on the board that wanted to take another step," Brown added.

"I will say what we're doing is definitely heading in the right direction, not necessarily what I want us to do," he said.

The five disciplined water department employees have ten days to appeal before their names can be made public.

Brown said they have a few more months to receive new training and prove they can handle their jobs.

But even if they survive the discipline and what amounts to a few months probation, they may still not be out of hot water.

Fayette County has asked the State Attorney General's Office to investigate any possible fraud, especially by anyone who may have lied about their credentials.

Brown said the exact cost of fixing the water system isn't yet known, but could end up being "millions" of dollars.

He hopes the system has enough money to raise the money through bonds.

If not, customers might see higher bills.