On Saturday, June 27, around 12:30 p.m., Atlanta residents took to social media to report sudden water outages around the city. Students living on and around Tech’s campus also experienced water shortages and significantly lowered water pressure.
About an hour later at 1:22 p.m., the city of Atlanta released a tweet on their account @CityofAtlanta containing a graphic reporting that the Department of Watershed Management (DWM) was investigating a 36 inch water main break on Tech’s campus. The main break, which was located at the intersection of Ferst Drive NW and Hemphill Avenue NW is a likely cause for the widespread water outages around Atlanta.
In a press release from the DWM it was stated that the water main break on Tech’s west campus “… interrupted service at the Hemphill Electric Pumping Station. The Hemphill service area may experience low or no water pressure.”
Katie Carlson, a third-year CM major currently residing in Home Park, a student-populated neighborhood just north of Tech’s campus, noticed an issue with the water pressure earlier today.
“I went to turn on the water in my kitchen and noticed the water pressure was a lot lower than normal. Even with the knob all the way up, it was coming out at about 50%,” said Carlson.
After checking the water tank in her house and finding nothing wrong, Carlson turned to a community GroupMe chat to see if others were having the same issues.
“A short while later the bathroom sink also had low water pressure, and at this point the pressure was at about 25% and I was concerned so I reached out to my Home Park friends,” said Carlson.
Carlson and friends then walked from Home Park to the site of the main break to see what was going on.
“We walked there from Tenth Street, and Hemphill was closed off and police officers were directing traffic and talking to one another … the water wasn’t gushing when we got there, in fact there was a little mini whirlpool in the middle, so it looked like they were trying to drain it,” said Carlson.
There hasn’t been an official assessment of the damage the water may have caused to parts of Tech’s campus, but the water from the break seemed to have significantly spread to areas around the scene.
“The water flooded all the way to the Burger Bowl bleachers,” said Carlson. “The water also definitely spread into the construction area where the old police department was.”
Much of the city, including Tech’s campus and the areas surrounding, including off-campus student apartments, are currently on a boil water advisory. A GTENS alert was sent out to the Tech community a few minutes after 4:30 p.m., alerting students of the water main break and advisory.
The GTENS alert advised those who have experienced water issues to either boil their water or rely on bottled water for drinking and brushing their teeth until the advisory is over. At 5 p.m. the Midtown Publix, one of the closest grocery stores to campus, confirmed that they were running low on bottled water, leaving affected students who received the alert late in search of water to use indefinitely until the DWM is cleared to lift the advisory.