Atlanta Water Main Break Causes Major Disruption, Shutdowns

Water service has been restored to several major Atlanta buildings after corroded pipes burst across Downtown and Midtown, forcing many businesses and attractions to close and affecting water service to homes across the city. region, officials said.

By Sunday morning, crews had made enough repairs that service to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport was fully restored, the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management said in a news release. Service was also restored to the Fulton County Jail and the Atlanta City Detention Center, as well as “many critical Atlanta facilities and their residents, including several high-rise buildings,” according to the Department.

Atlanta authorities were slowly cracking down on the city’s water system earlier this weekend. 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 and lives cannot function without it,” Mayor Andre Dickens said at a press conference Saturday morning. “It’s absolutely at the top of our list.”

At a second press conference on Saturday evening, Dickens announced that he had declared a state of emergency over the situation. The mayor said that while crews made significant progress repairing the first water main break, they were struggling with the second break in Midtown.

“We are still dealing with the second major break…the repair there has been a little more complicated for several reasons…We do not yet have an estimated timeline for this work,” Dickens said .

And in a statement Saturday evening, the mayor’s office said crews had “performed several rounds of repairs” and “the system is gradually being brought back online to allow system pressures to rebuild.”

However, a boil water advisory is still in effect. for much of Atlanta Until the Georgia Division of Environmental Protection determines the advisory can be lifted. The Department of Watershed Management said Sunday it would “follow its system pipe flushing protocols as a precaution” and “sample affected areas to confirm the absence of contamination.”

According to CBS affiliate WANF-TV, the Georgia State Capitol, Georgia Supreme Court and Atlanta City Hall did not have water service Friday.

Some attractions and businesses, including the Georgia Aquarium and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, remained closed Saturday.

“The citywide water issue is still affecting the Aquarium and many others in the area. It doesn’t affect our animals, but it does affect our visitor areas, like restrooms,” the aquarium said on the social platform.

The aquarium was scheduled to reopen Sunday, according to WANF.

The water main break also forced rapper Megan Thee Stallion to move her concert from Friday to Sunday.

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

The problems began Friday morning when water spilled onto the street at the intersection of three major downtown water mains, causing water problems at two hospitals, a city jail, a county jail 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.

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 at 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.

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.

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