Broken pipes disrupt Atlanta water service, forcing business closures and boil water notices

Broken pipes disrupt Atlanta water service, forcing business closures and boil water notices

Atlanta officials were slowly clamping 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 handing out cases of water and installing portable toilets at several fire stations, and first responders were checking high-rise residences to see if elderly or other vulnerable residents were okay.

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

The problems began Friday morning when water flooded the street where three large water pipes intersect in the center, causing water problems at two hospitals, a city jail, a county jail and local shelters. Another breakup later occurred in Midtown, which aggravated the situation.

Officials were widely criticized for their slowness in informing citizens about the situation. The city and its water management department sent an update after 8 p.m. Friday and waited more than 12 hours to update residents again. Dickens did not address the media until 2 pm Saturday and explained that he was in Memphis when the trouble began.

Someone in the affected area posted flyers throughout 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 did not do the best job of communication. We could have done a better job over the last day and for that I apologize,” she said.

Water gushes from a broken water transmission line in downtown Atlanta on Saturday.Mike Stewart/AP

A boil water order was still in effect for a large swath of metro Atlanta on Saturday. Residents were asked to restrict water use to allow pressure in the system to recover.

“We certainly understand the urgency of restoring water service, but we also want to make sure we do it in a way that doesn’t cause further regression in our work,” Atlanta Department of Watershed Management Commissioner Al Wiggins Jr. said. during a conference. Saturday press conference. “Any water company is a fragile setup.”

He said he hoped service would be fully restored by Saturday, but 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 is not affecting our animals, but it is affecting our guest areas such as the bathrooms,” the aquarium posted on social platform X.

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

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

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s concert was moved from Friday to Sunday. She was also scheduled to perform at the State Farm Arena on Saturday. That performance was scheduled for Saturday morning, but was still questionable a few hours before it began.

“I am extremely disappointed because tonight I had a big surprise for the Hotties, but we will follow the mayor’s protocol,” she posted on X. “Praying for the people who lost access to water due to this situation.”