Water service in downtown Atlanta is disrupted, leading to business closures and a boil water advisory

Atlanta authorities were slowly cracking down on the city’s water system Saturday after corroded water pipes burst in Downtown and Midtown, forcing many businesses and attractions to close and affecting water service to area homes.

The city was distributing cases of water and installing portable toilets at several fire stations and first responders were checking high-rise buildings to see if elderly or other vulnerable residents were OK.

“Water is a precious and essential resource and cities cannot function without it,” Mayor Andre Dickens said at a news conference Saturday. “It’s absolutely at the top of our list.”

The problems began Friday morning when water poured onto the street at the intersection of three major downtown water mains, causing water problems at two hospitals, a city jail, a jail in county and local shelters. A separate breakup later occurred in Midtown, adding to the problem.

Authorities have been widely criticized for their slowness in informing citizens of the situation. The city and its water department sent out an update after 8 p.m. Friday and waited more than 12 hours to notify residents again. Dickens only spoke to the media at 2 p.m. Saturday and explained that he was in Memphis when the problem began.

Someone in the affected area posted flyers around the neighborhood asking “Don’t you have water?” » and “Help us find our mayor.”

Dickens promised updates every two hours until the situation is resolved.

“Overnight, we didn’t do the best job of communicating. We could have done a better job over the past day and I apologize for that,” he said.

A boil water order was still in effect Saturday for much of metro Atlanta. Residents have been asked to limit their water consumption to allow pressure in the system to recover.

“We certainly understand the urgency of restoring water service, but we also want to make sure that we do it in a way that does not result in further regression of our work,” said Al Wiggins Jr., commissioner of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. said during a press conference on Saturday. “Any water service is a fragile installation.”

He said he hoped service would be fully restored by Saturday, but he could not guarantee it.

Some attractions and businesses, including the Georgia Aquarium, remained closed Saturday.

“The citywide water problem still affects the Aquarium and many others in the area. “This does not affect our animals, but it does affect our guest areas, such as restrooms,” the aquarium said on the social platform.

The city urged people to check on elderly or sick neighbors and relatives.

“The entire city government is mobilized to address this issue,” the water department said Friday.

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s concert has been moved from Friday to Sunday. She was also scheduled to perform at State Farm Arena on Saturday. This performance was supposed to take place on Saturday morning, but it was still questionable a few hours before its start.

“I’m extremely disappointed because I had a huge surprise for the Hotties tonight, but we will follow the Mayor’s protocol,” she said. posted on. “I pray for the people who have lost access to water because of this situation.”

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