A massive water main break near Buford Highway early Wednesday morning has had ripple effects throughout DeKalb County and beyond. Restaurants and county buildings closed, students were dismissed (very) early from schools, hospitals cancelled non-essential surgeries and a boil water advisory was in effect for all of DeKalb.
Just how big a deal is water in the fourth largest county in Georgia (and the next-door-neighbor of the largest one, Fulton)?
Here’s a look at DeKalb water, by the numbers:
Then and now: The county established its water system in 1942, with 5,049 metered connections (more than 80 percent of them were located in Decatur). At the end of 2014, there were 189,816 metered connections throughout the 268 square mile county.
Service area: The system serves all of the county within a 261 square mile area. A small portion of the city of Atlanta is in DeKalb (the bulk of the capital of Georgia is located in Fulton County) and those folks get their water from Atlanta’s Department of Watershed Management.
DeKalb County also sells water to Rockdale and Clayton counties on an emergency use basis. And Henry County acquires DeKalb water at a rate of about 300,000 gallons per day. Wednesday’s water break was impacting some Henry County residents as well.
Number of people served: More than 681,893 daily.
Average daily water consumption: 70 million gallons.
Number of employees: 728
Ten largest users of DeKalb water and sewer: Miles Properties; Post Properties; Hormel Foods Corp; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Gables Apartments; DeKalb hospital; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; Dart Container Corporation; Pepsi Bottling Group; Alsco Inc.
(Sources: DeKalb County Dept. of Watershed Managment, DeKalb County 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, staff research)
AJC editor Lois Norder contributed to this story