Water remains out in much of Atlanta after multiple water main breaks

Government facilities, hospitals and attractions, restaurants and businesses forced to close

>> New Saturday updates on this story are posted here

Some Atlanta residents are still without water after multiple main breaks led to outages in much of the city on Friday, including all of downtown.

Water service halted late Friday afternoon in much of Atlanta, including all of downtown, as crews began work to repair breaks on a 48-inch and 36-inch transmission line “that carries large volumes of water to the metropolitan area,” Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management announced.

A day later, residents and business owners were still waiting for water to be restored.

Jared Winn left his downtown Atlanta condo to stay with relatives, having not had water service since noon Friday.

“No end in sight currently,” he said.

Videos posted to X showed the results of additional water main breaks late Friday night.

The Atlanta Watershed Department’s most recent update was posted nine hours ago.

On Friday, Grady Memorial Hospital canceled appointments, Atlanta and Fulton County offices closed, attractions like the Georgia Aquarium shut down and a Megan Thee Stallion concert was canceled at State Farm Arena.

Water service was shut off in a large part of the city Friday afternoon to allow for repairs.The DWM did not provide a timeline for service to be restored but asked all customers in the area to restrict water use immediately to allow the system’s pressure to rebuild.

“Running a garden center without water” was NOT on my bingo card for this week,” said Kacey Cloues, who owns Garden*Hood, an independent retail plant nursery in Grant Park. “Our entire business consists of selling plants, and on hot days, we water all our inventory twice a day. Needless to say, the idea of not having access to water is something I have nightmares about.”

As of Friday evening Megan Thee Stallion’s Hot Girl Summer Tour stop at State Farm Arena was still on for Saturday and Friday tickets will be honored Sunday.

Outages caused widespread disruption. The Gathering Spot, a networking hub and co-working space off North Avenue, closed for the day around 1 p.m. Friday, according to CEO Ryan Wilson. The space is about one mile from the water main at the intersection of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and J.P. Brawley Drive, where DWM crews are working on the largest of the water main breaks.

The Atlanta Tech Village co-working space experienced low to no water pressure, according to David Cummings, ATV co-founder and one of the owners of a large real estate portfolio in South Downtown.

“We’re encouraging people to not come in unless it’s necessary,” Cummings said. “Hopefully it’s a quick fix!”

Dina Brennan with Sheppard & Tucker in the Atlanta Apparel Center said she was concerned about a trade show that begins Monday.

“We stayed as long as we could in our showroom today until security threw us out; they told us that if there was a fire the sprinkler systems would not function,” Brennan told the AJC. “Hopefully, the city leaders will work 24/7 to get this problem fixed. To us — and to many people who work downtown — this is urgent and our livelihoods depend on these trade shows being successful.”

The water outages are also affecting visitors staying at downtown Atlanta’s many hotels. An employee at Hyatt House Atlanta on Marietta Street said the water was affected but did not share specifics or say if guests were moved to other locations.

Some guests staying at the Omni Hotel at Centennial Park cancelled their reservations due to the lack of water, according to a front desk employee. The hotel was recommending they stay at the Signia by Hilton Atlanta near the Georgia World Congress Center because that property still had water service.

An operator at the Signia confirmed guests have come from other hotels but could not say how many transferred over.

Water issues also impacted dozens of Atlanta restaurants. Eateries across Little Five Points, Downtown, Grant Park, Old Fourth Ward, the West End, East Atlanta, Midtown, Inman Park and Candler Park were all forced to close due to water outages or low water pressure.

Operations were halted throughout Krog Street Market, whose vendors include Superica, Ticonderoga Club, Little Tart Bakeshop and Fred’s Meat & Bread, among others. Headed into what was expected as a busy weekend, the timing is not ideal for restaurants.

Paul Calvert of Ticonderoga Club said he anticipates losing at least $10,000 from Friday’s closure.

“It’s particularly difficult now with our initiative to provide staff with a good wage and health benefits,” he said. “With the rising cost of everything from fish to limes to linens, every little bit is essential. We can’t afford to lose a Friday night.”

Calvert also lamented the “thematic connection” of this unexpected closure to the burst pipe that forced a months-long closure in December 2022.

Chris Mangianello, the water policy director at Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and a Kirkwood resident, described the broken water mains as “huge” and said their repair would require significant mobilization of work crews and equipment. Mangianello holds a doctoral degree in environmental history and is the author of the book “Southern Water, Southern Power.”

“This is a situation that should just remind everyone that water infrastructure really matters,” Mangianello said. “It requires continuous investment. It’s really expensive to build, it’s really expensive to operate and maintain... We can’t take for granted the workers and the pipes that bring water into our family homes every single day.”

Just after 2 p.m., the DWM issued a boil water advisory “out of an abundance of caution.” The advisory affects any Atlanta water customers who have experienced a water outage or low water pressure.

Atlanta's Department of Watershed Management issued a boil water advisory for the impacted area seen in this map.

Credit: Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

icon to expand image

Credit: Atlanta Department of Watershed Management

The second water main break is a few miles east at 2922 Glenwood Avenue. As of 9:30 p.m., water service remained shut off.

On East Beechwood Drive near Vinings, water was shut off for hours due to a water main break. A little before 7 p.m., the DWM announced another broken water main at 2294 Havenridge Drive in the Peachtree Battle neighborhood. Both have since been repaired.

The largest water main break is near the intersection of Joseph E. Boone Boulevard and J.P. Brawley Drive, causing water outages or low water pressure through the utility’s downtown service area, the DWM said.

“Crews are onsite and working aggressively” to restore water, according to the statement.

Adding to the list of woes plaguing the city, construction work punctured or broke a gas line along Marietta Street near Georgia Tech campus, a school spokesman confirmed around 5:30 p.m. The 755 Marietta Street building and the Stamps Health Services building on Ferst Drive were evacuated as a precaution and cleared for reentry around 9:30 p.m. Foot traffic on campus has been light since graduation and the start of summer classes in early May.

A geyser of water steadily erupted from below Joseph E. Boone Boulevard for hours, pooling across the entire width of the road. At growing group of workers gathered on the scene, some standing next to a red mini-excavator.

Grady Memorial Hospital canceled all appointments for the day, and employees reported water outages at Emory University Hospital Midtown. As of Friday afternoon, the water outage had not yet resulted in the need to transfer any hospitalized patients at Grady, according to hospital spokeswoman Danielle Hackett.

Grady is also not turning away patients at the emergency room and the ER’s level of care is not being affected by the outage. An Emory Healthcare spokeswoman said she was also not aware of any patients who needed to be transferred from their facility.

The Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta was evacuated and is temporarily closed, the attraction said on its website.

The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame, a neighbor to the Georgia Aquarium, also shut down for the day. The Georgia World Congress Center is being affected by the water outage, but it’s not clear if the huge complex has fully shut down.

All Fulton County government facilities, including the courthouse, were shuttered for the day. The Georgia Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals both closed early.

Atlanta police released some administrative staff but a spokesman said their emergency services were unaffected.

— Please return to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution for updates.

Staff writers Yvonne Zusel, Olivia Wakim, Mirtha Donastorg, Helena Oliviero and Caroline Silva contributed to this article.