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Sunday Morning Meditation – WTF, DeKalb?

Avondale Estates D'ish Decatur Metro ATL

Sunday Morning Meditation – WTF, DeKalb?

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.
DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

DeKalb County Georgia. Source: Google Maps.

I’m at a loss to explain to readers how one mower running over a fire hydrant four days ago could lead to widespread water pressure and possible contamination issues throughout DeKalb County.

Restaurants have had to close early. Decatur’s Slide the City event shut down. It’s an open question whether that was due to the lack of water – it runs on a closed circulation system, we were told – or because it just looked bad to turn your city into a big-ass water slide when people can’t flush their toilets.

As county residents struggled with low to non-existent water pressure, the county government didn’t apparently feel any pressure to inform people about what the hell was going on. The first day of the break, there was not even a word from DeKalb about what might be happening. The next day the county pledged to do better. But even its improved efforts are still lacking. DeKalb’s Twitter feed has been the best source of up-to-date and official information. Beyond that, we’re having to depend on what we’re hearing through the grapevine.

A few questions:

1) When will water pressure return for all residents?

2) How many residents are affected?

3) When will the boil water advisory be lifted?

4) There are rumors circulating that some groups got the boil water advisory ahead of everyone else: Is this accurate?

The county did provide an answer to this question:

Spokesperson Emily Schwartz said, “Unaware of an advanced warning. The advisory is a precaution. Tests have not indicated contamination and are still being conduction.

“Just now receiving reports that a partially closed valve was causing a problem. It is being worked on as pressure steadily climbs to affected areas.

“We are encouraging our water customers who do they water to refrain from large uses of water, including washing cars, giving dogs a bath or using irrigation systems. Holding back on use will help the system get back up to speed quicker.”

5) How, exactly, does a fire hydrant getting hit by a lawn mower cause this much trouble over four days?

6) What is the county doing to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again?

That’s just my short list of questions, but I’m sure I can think of a few more and so can our readers.

In short, WTF, DeKalb?

Whenever the water pressure is restored and people don’t have to boil water before brushing their teeth, we need an accounting of what happened and why. I am calling on all of our county commissioners to demand a thorough and transparent investigation of what took place.

This is, at worst, a persistent nuisance for residents. And let’s not kid ourselves: things like this are going to happen in a big city. But it shouldn’t drag on this long and if the water isn’t flowing, the lines of communication with residents better be. If the county’s water infrastructure can’t handle a mower hitting a fire hydrant, what are we going to do if something really serious happens?