Burst pipes in Atlanta leads to water outages, boil water notices


Crews in Atlanta, Ga. on Saturday continued repairs to a series of water pipes that burst last week and prompted several businesses to close amid water outages and boil water notices.

Repairs to the burst pipes began Friday after water poured into the street in downtown Atlanta where three water mains intersect. Another water main break occurred separately in Midtown Atlanta, city officials said Saturday.

The breaks impacted services at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the Fulton County Jail, Atlanta City Detention Center, and other “critical facilities” in the city, according to the Atlanta Mayor’s Office.  

A stretch of downtown and Midtown Atlanta was subsequently placed under a boil water advisory, and the city handed out water palettes to respondents across the city. Residents were told to limit water usage to allow the pressure in the system to rebuild.

The city’s first responders were also monitoring high rise residences to check on elderly and other vulnerable residents, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens (D) confirmed in a news conference Saturday.

“Let me just be clear that these people are working tirelessly, they are working as fast as humanly possible and as carefully as humanly possible to resolve this situation as quickly as possible,” Dickens said, adding later, “My administration understands very clearly how important the city’s water supply is. Water is a valuable…a critical…resource and cities can’t function, and lives can’t function without it.”

As of Sunday, crews completed multiple rounds of repairs to the water main system and were gradually bringing the system back online to allow for the rebuilding of system pressures, the mayor’s office said.

Dickens noted the city’s water main system is “very old infrastructure,” and his office is inquiring the help of engineers to determine the best solution.

City officials came under scrutiny for providing slow updates to residents after the city and its water management department sent an update after 8 p.m. Friday and did not send another one for 12 hours, the Associated Press reported. Dickens on Saturday acknowledged the lapse in communication and said the city will provide updates every two hours until the incident is resolved.

“Overnight, we did not do the best job of communicating. We could have done a better job over the past day, and for that, I apologize,” the mayor said.

Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management will continue its flushing protocols as a precaution and sample the impacted areas to confirm no contamination before the boil water advisory is lifted, per the mayor’s office.

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