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7:30 a.m., June 6 UPDATE

The boil water advisory has been lifted for the entire city nearly a week after two water mains broke and plunged the city into an unprecedented water crisis.

We would like to thank our readers for following our ongoing coverage both here and on our social media. We are working on a series of follow-up articles about the financial effects on local businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues as well as the city’s plans to repair its aging infrastructure. 

7:30 p.m. UPDATE

The boil water advisory will continue into Thursday, June 6, while the city awaits the result of test samples sent to the Georgia Environmental Protect Division.

Atlanta City Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari posted the news on her social media accounts, although there has been no official update from the city itself. 

“This morning, the repaired line in Midtown became fully pressurized and the City was finally able to collect samples to test for quality and safety,” Bakhtiari posted. “As I mentioned, the water must incubate for 18 hours before it can be cleared by the State for consumption. The earliest we anticipate receiving said clearance is early tomorrow, June 6th.”

Atlanta Watershed did issue an alert that it would shut off water in part of southwest Atlanta overnight as part of an evaluation of the water system. The test – which will take place at Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at Bakers Ferry Road – will run from midnight to 4 a.m. Customers from Bolton Road to Fairburn Road and the surrounding area will see a disruption in service.

In a letter emailed to constituents today, Mayor Andre Dickens wrote:

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are here and, on the ground, and tomorrow, the Federal Emergency Management Agency will be here to help us with resiliency planning.

My administration is standing up a Blue Ribbon plan to help enact the recommendations from the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA. Mayor Shirley Franklin, Metro Atlanta Chamber CEO Katie Kirkpatrick and Major General Ron Johnson have already agreed to serve.

Earlier Reporting

Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens called the five-day water crisis a “wake-up call” on the city’s aging infrastructure during a press conference Wednesday morning.

“The past few days were a call to action for all of us,” Dickens said at Atlanta City Hall. “Every city in America has aging infrastructure, and we will rise to meet this moment to ensure that residents and businesses have reliable access to water.”

A prime example of the aging infrastructure was on display Tuesday in Midtown when a nearly 100-year-old, corroded water pipe was pulled from the intersection of 11th and West Peachtree streets. That was where one of two major water mains burst on May 31 sending the city spiraling into a crisis as taps went dry or water pressure was nonexistent for residents and businesses.

Work crews make repairs to the street at 11th and West Peachtree in Midtown on June 5 where a water main was replaced. (Courtesy City of Atlanta)

Work crews make repairs to the street at 11th and West Peachtree in Midtown on June 5 where a water main was replaced.

Credit: Courtesy City of Atlanta

Atlanta voters approved an extension on the 1 cent sales tax to pay for water and sewer projects, but Dickens said that would not cover what needed to be replaced in the city.

Dickens said he would be asking the federal government for “a lot more money” and predicted it would cost billions to upgrade the infrastructure. 

Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Al Wiggins, who has only been on the job since early May, said the city will launch a pilot program in Midtown by attaching monitoring devices to water valves to detect leaks before they turn into a crisis.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived on Tuesday and said in a press release that it is working with the city to “investigate the viability of doing a Planning Assistance to States study to perform a full physical and operational assessment of the entire water system with the city of Atlanta.”

Dickens also apologized for the failure of communication between the city and the public. The gaps in information on repairs and the boil water advisory left residents and business owners frustrated. 

“I wish we’d done a better job of communicating,” Dickens said. “We learned that lesson and we won’t learn it again.”

While water is flowing again across Atlanta, the boil advisory remains in place for a swath of the city.

A boil water advisory will remain in place until testing samples are approved by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD). A new advisory map was released by the city last night.

City of Atlanta map showing the updated boil water advisory area compared to the original boundaries after the main break.
Credit: City of Atlanta

Residents can also check if they are affected by the boil advisory using this interactive map.

Atlanta City Councilmember Liliana Bakhtiari posted on social media Tuesday night that once water lines have been pressurized, the system must “incubate” for 18 hours before testing samples are sent to the EPD to determine if the boil water advisory can be lifted.

“recovery fund” to assist small business owners impacted by the city of Atlanta’s water crisis is being established by the city.

Dickens told the city council that the new recovery fund would help small businesses “adversely affected” by the water woes that started Friday.

Councilmember Matt Westmoreland introduced the legislation to create the recovery fund. It calls for up to $5 million of city funds be transferred to Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Rough Draft Atlanta.