Many DeKalb County residents had a rude awakening this morning when they turned on their showers and faucets to find, well, nothing. Sometime before 4:30 in the morning, a 48-inch transmission water main broke and flooded a section of Buford Highway north of I-285.
Buford Highway is flooded just north of I-285 in DeKalb County due to a water main break. The major artery is shut down in both directions. Avoid the area. https://t.co/pYPggEiv2K pic.twitter.com/UJYJYofe5Y
— AJC (@ajc) March 7, 2018
RT @NeimaNews When a pipe that’s a major water transmission line breaks and disrupts an entire county’s water supply. Details of what’s being done and what to expect @ 5pm #11alive #DekalbCounty #WaterMainBreak pic.twitter.com/UmzJI4AfLh pic.twitter.com/Qig2MnsBg7
— 11Alive News (@11AliveNews) March 7, 2018
Waking up w/o water in Dekalb Co? Here’s why. Buford Highway near Longmire in Doraville pic.twitter.com/xLrMyB5OTd
— Kaitlyn (@Fox5Kaitlyn) March 7, 2018
#BREAKINGNEWS Doraville: It’s one of the biggest water main break that I’ve ever seen and as of 6:50am it’s yet to be capped. Buford Highway is shut down north of I-285. Live team coverage NOW @wsbtv @wsbradio #ATLtraffic pic.twitter.com/WFF3xrHuzN
— Mark McKay (@mckayWSB) March 7, 2018
Thanks to our friends @CityofDoraville for the photos of the pipe damage. @ItsInDeKalb says it will be 24 hours for the repair work to be done. More info: https://t.co/o3o5koOD0C pic.twitter.com/aH92VRkY4Y
— Chamblee GA (@ChambleeGA) March 7, 2018
The infrastructure failure shut down roads and caused water outages across the county from Dunwoody to Decatur. Three Buford Highway businesses reported flooding, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. DeKalb County Department of Watershed Management issued a boil water advisory for the entire county, Decatur schools closed, and DeKalb County schools released students early. DeKalb County Animal Services put out a call for donations of bottled water (they received a ton), while supplies at grocery stores quickly dried up. Many businesses, government offices, and restaurants shut down or adjusted their hours due to lack of water. At least one DeKalb Waffle House broke out its “No Water Menu.”
How bad is the water main break in DeKalb County? @WaffleHouse is breaking out the infamous “no water” menu. pic.twitter.com/NDb0RiLFM0
— Mark Arum (@MarkArum) March 7, 2018
And, as could be expected, DeKalb residents weren’t exactly pleased.
No. It’s fine. I DIDN’T WANNA SHOWER OR ANYTHING DEKALB COUNTY
— Budweiser Princess (@WeiserPrincess) March 7, 2018
DeKalb county is without water due to a main break so we’re all heading to Fulton to poop.
— Becky Stein (@BeckyStein) March 7, 2018
Video of the tears of 100,000 DeKalb County working parents … https://t.co/Y8fxyGMV7H
— Andisheh Nouraee (@andishehnouraee) March 7, 2018
Dekalb county is so nice. For my birthday, they have taken away my water pressure and putting me under a boil advisory! Yay me!
— Marissa 🙆🏽♀️ (@woomarissaa) March 7, 2018
DeKalb County water outage has me feeling like a prepper. pic.twitter.com/YbmIPQ2Mdy
— Paysoninho (@pschwin) March 7, 2018
Of course I live in DeKalb County. pic.twitter.com/yF6yKfQtIv
— Theodora Chester (@beingtheo) March 7, 2018
I got a liter of smart water going for the low price of $33.99 RT @wsbtv: Bottled water could become hot commodity in DeKalb County https://t.co/FMqL8yKP33
— Vic Damone Jr. Jr (@MrJRadford) March 7, 2018
Alright Atlanta, let’s just all go ahead and say goodbye to our HQ2 dreams, huh? https://t.co/8gNaBuTnPK
— Emily Baselt (@emilybaselt) March 7, 2018
me: *wakes up to see what Atlanta roadway is trending on Twitter this morning*
me: *sees a water main break on Buford Highway that contaminated all of DeKalb County’s water*
— Patrick Glynn (@patrickrglynn) March 7, 2018
You know it’s a common occurrence when, after I see low water pressure in my house, my immediate instinct is to google “DeKalb County” and “water break” before assuming it’s just MY pipes. https://t.co/PxCFx0QbPy via @wsbtv #DeKalb #waterbreak #boiladvisory #atlanta
— Emilia Brock (@emiliabrock) March 7, 2018
Poor MegaHound. It’s his birthday, but he has to wait as I microwave ice cubes for him to have water. Dangit, DeKalb County! pic.twitter.com/ephkkCcRLc
— Rev. Meghan Gurley – Creative Clergy (@Beyond_I_Do) March 7, 2018
Dekalb water main break got me like pic.twitter.com/h4cS5aHFud
— Wendy (@whirlwend1) March 7, 2018
Let’s be honest, @amazon should stay away from ATL. The lack of infrastructure is appalling. The CDC is closed, hospitals talking about rescheduling surgeries, DeKalb Co schools closed because of a water main break…
— Watchin From De Mountains (@KharlieSue) March 7, 2018
And as if the story couldn’t get more bizarre, the AJC reported that Watershed Management director Scott Towler resigned on Monday, posting a memo he wrote to DeKalb County deputy COO Ted Rhinhart. The letter stated his resignation was due to “ongoing retaliatory actions by [Rhinehart] and [DeKalb] CEO Michael Thurmond in response to my refusal to violate the law and participate in unlawful activities in the operation of DWM, especially those which are a violation of the County’s Consent Decree and Federal and state environmental laws.” According to the AJC, Thurmond’s office denied the allegations.
As of Wednesday afternoon, water pressure started to return to country residences and businesses, although the boil water advisory remains in effect. Both City Schools of Decatur and DeKalb County School District have announced schools will be open Thursday.
Want to keep up with the restoration and what’s happening? The AJC is posting live updates here. And if you want to know which restaurants are closed, Eater Atlanta is keeping track of them here.