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Water discolored but safe after main break in Gwinnett

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Officials say water discolored by a major water main break Thursday is safe to drink.

The break, which caused flooding at a mobile home park and closed U.S. Highway 78 for hours, caused sediment to enter into the county's drinking water system, said Gwinnett spokesman Joe Sorenson.

"It is safe. There are folks out in the field doing testing," he said, adding that the discoloration is likely to have dissipated by Friday morning. "It was a pretty big break, so it's affecting a wide area."

Just after the break, which happened a little before 2 a.m. Thursday, much of southern Gwinnett lost water pressure, since the 48-inch pipe was a key part of the county's network of pipes.

More than five miles away, at Eastside Medical Center in Snellville, the low pressure had officials worried.

Hospital spokeswoman Pattie Page called the loss of water pressure a "close call." The hospital's boiler pressure was restored at about 6 a.m., "just in time" for surgery not to be affected.

By Thursday evening, water service had been restored to all but two subdivisions and the mobile home park, Gwinnett Estates, which has more than 200 homes.

Sorenson said repairs may be complete by morning,