News Feature | March 13, 2018

Massive Water Main Break Strikes Atlanta

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


A massive main break crippled water delivery in Atlanta last week, leaving many residents without water and thrusting more than 700,000 people under a boil-water advisory.

Repairs to a broken four-foot water main were completed Friday afternoon, according to WSBTV. The main burst Wednesday, compromising one of the four transmission lines serving the county and sending billions of gallons of water into the street, according to WSBTV.

The boil-water advisory forced business closures, but at least one restaurant got creative in its effort to meet customer needs. Waffle House offered a “no-water” menu until water service resumed as normal.

“The menu consists of just six entrees: a quarter-pound angus hamburger, grilled chicken sandwich, sausage sandwich, grilled ham sandwich, grilled cheese sandwich, and sausage biscuit. Sausage and city ham are available as sides, and beverage service includes bottled and canned drinks. These dishes make a small fraction of the expansive list of items found at a Waffle House during regular operations,” reported.

Animal shelters were also in a pinch following the water main break.

“One county shelter location said it had animals that need water and took to Facebook to ask for donations. DeKalb County Animal Services said it had hundreds of animals that are in urgent need of water,” WSBTV reported.

An outpouring of donations arrived at the shelter, where hundreds of gallons of bottled water were placed in the shelter lobby.

DeKalb County Commission Chairman Jeff Rader said that prior to the rupture, the water department was unaware the main in question needed repair, according to WSBTV.

Rader stated: “This wasn't an example of neglect of the system or an existing vulnerability that we knew we had.”

The water main broke one day after the county water department director resigned, referring to illegal activity within the department.

“Scott Towler submitted a scathing two-page letter to the county’s deputy chief operating officer, Ted Rhinehart. In it, he accused Rhinehart and the county CEO of urging him to make decisions that violate federal and state laws and leaving him out of meetings and decision-making once he resisted,” WSBTV reported.

County officials did not respond to those accusations, the report said.

Image credit: "IMG_1946" Mark Taylor © 2011, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: