Atlanta Declares State Of Emergency, Races To Repair Dayslong Water Main Breaks

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John Oyewale Contributor
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Georgia’s capital city, Atlanta, declared a state of emergency as it battled several major water main breaks since Friday, according to statements.

“We have declared a state of emergency in the City of Atlanta to allow us to access resources in an expedited manner,” Mayor Andre Dickens told reporters at a press conference Sunday.

The city’s authorities announced a water main break affecting a 48-inch transmission line and a 36-inch line at about 12:20 p.m. Friday on Facebook and X. The break occurred at the intersection of Joseph E. Boone Blvd and JP Brawley and was still under repair nearly 24 hours later, according to an update.

The break necessitated a precautionary boil water advisory. Repair crews from Atlanta‘s Department of Watershed Management (DWM) completed the repairs Saturday, according to another update. The boil water advisory, however, remained in place. Aging infrastructure appeared to be a factor in the incident, based on the update.

A second water main break occurred at 11th & West Peachtree. Repair crews — who had been “working aggressively around the clock” on the first break — began working on the second Saturday and were expected to work all through the night into Sunday, according to another statement. The repairs continued Sunday morning.

Crews also investigated a potential third break near 1190 Atlantic Dr. NW and a potential fourth near the intersection of Euclid Ave. NE & North Ave. NE. Water supply returned to the 35 homes and four hydrants affected by the emergency repairs on the fourth break within three hours, another update stated.

The repairs interrupted water service to residents and businesses. The city‘s authorities directed residents to four fire stations. One of them, Station 10, ran out of water, another update revealed. “One case per resident,” the authorities advised, rationing the supply. (RELATED: Enormous Sinkhole Swallows Intersection In Major US City)

Rapper Megan Thee Stallion rescheduled her May 31 concert in the city’s State Farm Arena to Sunday because of the situation.

The water outages angered residents.

“This is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS! There are SEVERAL hotels and residences without any water. We can’t bathe, brush our teeth or FLUSH THE TOILETS!!! It has almost been 24hrs,” one’s reply to the city partly ran.

“27 hours after the water stopped working. It took y’all TWENTY-SEVEN hours to provide what is a literal necessity to sustain life. We have officially lost the plot,” one posted in response to a Saturday update directing residents to the fire stations.

“What about residents who can’t pick up water, what’s the plan?” asked another.

“Atl utd game and Meg concert tmr yall better get it done by the morning,” another posted after midnight Sunday.

Mayor Dickens apologized to the city’s residents Saturday. “Overnight, we did not do the best job of communicating,” he told reporters. “We could have done a better job over the past day, and for that, I apologize in [sic] how we have not been able to give you as much up-to-date information as possible.”

The Georgia Department of Emergency Management was involved in the crisis response, Mayor Dickens told reporters. Some 10,500-odd people across over 30 senior communities, homeless shelters, hospitals, and other centers across the city with vulnerable populations received bottled water and flushing water, he added.

The boil water advisory remained in effect as of Sunday afternoon.