Water begins flowing again in downtown Atlanta after production begins Friday

ATLANTA (AP) — Water pressure was returning to downtown Atlanta and nearby neighborhoods Sunday after a two day water outage shut down businesses and left the taps dry in many homes.

Much of the city remained under order to boil water before drinking it, but Mayor Andre Dickens said at a news conference Saturday night that one of two major water breaks affecting the city had been repaired.

The first-term Democratic mayor, who faces re-election in 2025, apologized again, even as residents continued to brutalize the city’s response. Among the criticisms: Megan you studwhose Friday and Saturday night shows at the State Farm Arena downtown were canceled.

“Call the mayor!” All day they told us we could perform,” the rapper said in a video she posted on Saturday.

The city said Dickens visited senior centers and other locations Sunday to check on water supplies, while the city continued to distribute bottled water to some fire stations. The flow did not affect the entire city of 500,000: many areas in the north and south ends of Atlanta never lost water pressure and never faced an order boiling.

State Farm Arena management said Megan Thee Stallion’s Friday night show would take place on Sunday, while the Saturday show was postponed until Monday.

Other downtown events went on as planned Sunday, including an Atlanta United soccer game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Centennial Olympic Park has turned toward its fountains, where children often splash around in swimsuits.

Two affected hospitals said they were still providing bottled water to patients, but said they were otherwise resuming normal operations, with regular schedules of surgeries and appointments scheduled for Monday.

Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Al Wiggins Jr. says The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that boil orders could be lifted in some areas on Monday.

The problems began Friday morning at the intersection of three major water mains just west of downtown. Wiggins said at a news conference Saturday that at least some of the pipes that burst were old and corroded. With the pipes joining in a confined area, repairs were very tight, with only one worker at a time working in the manhole accessing the junction. Repairs were completed Saturday evening, authorities said.

Another water main then burst in the Midtown neighborhood, which is full of new office towers, hotels and apartments. Wiggins said Saturday that officials don’t yet know why that pipe broke. It continued to flow through the city streets on Sunday. City officials said Saturday they were looking for ways to isolate the leak from the larger water system and were waiting for a part needed to repair the pipe. Dickens declared a state of emergency so the city could purchase materials and hire workers without following normal purchasing laws.

Failing infrastructure is common in older neighborhoods in American cities. Atlanta has spent billions in recent years to upgrade its aging sewer and water infrastructure, including a tunnel bored through 5 miles of rock to provide the city with more than 30 days of stored water. Last month, voters approved maintaining a 1-cent sales tax to fund federally mandated sewer improvements. At one time, the city regularly dumped its untreated sewage into streams and the Chattahoochee River.

City workers spent much of Saturday handing out water and installing portable toilets at several fire stations, while also checking on elderly people who live in high-rise buildings.

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 did not speak to the media until 2 p.m. Saturday, explaining that he was in Memphis, Tennessee, 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.”

Some attractions and shops, Including the Georgia Aquarium, which reopened Sunday, although the aquarium warned that the boil water order meant no ice or fountain drinks in its cafeteria.

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