City says Atlanta drinking water safe, despite online rumors

Two days after a chemical spill on Interstate 85 snarled traffic for hours and added to the metro area’s congestion nightmare, Atlanta’s water department has issued a statement that the city’s H2O is safe to drink.

The Department of Watershed Management on Wednesday said it has had no concerns about the quality of water entering facilities for treatment or treated water leaving water treatment plants.

The Downtown Connector was closed in both directions after about 50 gallons of diesel fuel and up to 250 gallons of a toxic chemical spilled on the interstate. (

The water department issued the statement in an effort to end online rumors that the spill somehow contaminated the city’s water supply. 

“The health and safety of our customers is our top priority, and at no time was there a concern about the quality of water entering or leaving our water treatment plants following this incident,” Watershed Commissioner Kishia L. Powell said in a release. 

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A tractor-trailer carrying benzoyl chloride overturned after it ran into a vehicle whose driver had stopped in the middle of the interstate to change lanes. Benzoyl chloride is a chemical compound that can be used in dyes and resins and can be toxic if inhaled. Both drivers face charges in the accident.

The city’s water plants remain in compliance with Safe Drinking Water standards, the department said. Water being treated at the city’s water treatment facilities is continuously monitored through testing 24 hours a day, the department added. 

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