Readers write



Lack of confidence in utilities will hurt Atlanta’s reputation

Kennesaw State Economist Roger Tutterow recently addressed the Marietta Metro Rotary Club about economic conditions. When asked about the economic cost of shutting off Atlanta’s water for days, he mentioned that the short-term and long-term costs of Atlanta’s reputation include questions about confidence in utilities.

It seems nothing can turn a world-class city into a developing-world city like 50,000 unflushed toilets. I know one person who got water from a pool to pour into a toilet. National Geographic says some ancient Roman aqueducts still work. Because Atlanta’s system is old, it might not mean it needs to be replaced. But it seems to me that backup water repair supplies and parts should be stockpiled, like salt trucks and electric transformers. Most people can endure a few hours of outages. I spoke with several who escaped to Kennesaw.

I am hopeful this won’t happen again. Hopefully, most residents are grateful for the repair workers in the water authority.


What happened to taxes collected for city’s water woes?

Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Al Wiggins said the massive water breach in Midtown had not been surveyed or thought to be a problem. We have just approved a sales tax extension that will address our water woes. What were they doing with the money collected previously? Why is the water department not proactive? I would think with all the technology available they would be able to anticipate and repair these problem areas before this disrupts our city.

Inquiring minds would like to know.


Taxpayers, brace yourself for major utility project

Atlanta has recently had breaks in the large water mains in the area. One broken pipe had a 36-inch diameter, and another had a 48-inch diameter. Other breaks will continue because piping more than 80 years old is brittle. People complained about the slowness of communication regarding restored service timing, as many businesses and residents were knocked out of usual operations.

A few years ago, Mayor Shirley Franklin took the lead in pursuing unpopular (very expensive) new sewer/storm drain lines in Atlanta. One huge tunnel was bored underground, far below other infrastructure. A similar, very expensive initiative is needed now, as water supply is imperative. Very much is in the way of accomplishing this task. Taxpayers, brace yourselves for necessary major replacement, not piecemeal repairs.

This cannot be procrastinated any longer. Mayor Andre Dickens and the Atlanta City Council: lead on!


Atlanta’s water crisis is a national problem

The catastrophic water main breaks in Atlanta are the kinds of water emergencies that afflict too many communities around the country. Thanks to decades of disinvestment and neglect, the Environmental Protection Agency now estimates that we need $1.3 trillion nationally to secure safe, clean drinking water and resilient wastewater systems. Cities impacted by crises cannot pay the bills themselves — and if Congress passes a landmark bill called the WATER Act, they won’t have to.

This legislation would create a trust fund that could invest $63 billion every year to make desperately needed repairs and upgrades. The WATER Act would prioritize disadvantaged communities, address the threats posed by “forever chemicals” and remove deadly lead service lines. With dozens of cosponsors in Congress, the WATER Act is the right vision to fully fund our water infrastructure to ensure clean water for all.

Rep. Hank Johnson is already a WATER Act co-sponsor; I hope my representative in the U.S. House, Rep. Nikema Williams, will also co-sponsor this groundbreaking legislation.


Pipes were going to break regardless of mayor’s whereabouts

Doesn’t matter who you are, if you’re top gun, somebody is going to take potshots at you. Mayor Andre Dickens appears to be doing a good job, from what we read in the newspaper — a major improvement over former Mayor Kasim Reed. And the mayor knows that there will always be someone who knows how to better do his job than he does.

The water pipes were installed long before Dickens was even a gleam in his daddy’s eyes, and they’re gonna break regardless of where the mayor may be.


City pays for ‘kicking can down the road’

Some points begging for comment on the water outage:

We learned that the 80-year-old pipe broke because of “decay and corrosion around a fitting that was leaking.” This certainly implies prior knowledge of the leak. Why was the leak not fixed before the corrosion reached the point of failure?

The mayor cited “very old infrastructure” and said that he “hopes to replace old pipes that could cause problems in the future.” He was aware of the problem, starting to collect extra money (allegedly) earmarked for improvements, and hopes to address the problem sometime in the future? Maybe after he is out of office and no longer responsible? How about we form a committee to study the water department problems and report back no later than after the next election? Kicking the can down the road is the basic tool of our so-called leaders.

Maybe one day in the future, perhaps right after the next major water crisis shuts off downtown Atlanta, there will arise sufficient outrage to “throw the bums out” and Atlantans will elect some competent officials.

I am old and do not expect to live long enough to see such an event, but perhaps my grandchild will see the new dawn of Atlanta city government.