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DeKalb County plans test of 48-inch main involved in 2015 water debacle

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DeKalb County plans test of 48-inch main involved in 2015 water debacle


A dripping faucet. Photo by Danny Steaven. Source: Wikimedia commons

People living in DeKalb County in the summer of 2015 might remember an episode where water pressure dropped for days for many county residents, leading to a boil water advisory.

The incident started when a mower hit a fire hydrant connected to a 48-inch main at Henderson Mill and Evans Roads. The county is planning a test of that water main in anticipation of repairs to the more than 40-year-old pipe, meaning water pressure will drop on Feb. 24, starting at 6 p.m.

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“During this time, customers in the Tucker and Northlake areas may notice a temporary drop in water pressure,” a press release from the county says. “While the pressure may drop as much as 50 percent in some locations, at no time should the water pressure be less than 50 percent of what is normal.

“In the event that customers experience a water pressure drop of more than 50 percent during the test, they should contact DeKalb Watershed at 770-270-6243 or [email protected], as this would indicate that an unexpected circumstance has occurred and the preliminary test would be stopped.”

The county says customers outside of the Tucker and Northlake area might see a “slight drop” drop in their water pressure. Any customer outside of Tucker and Northlake experiencing more than a 25 percent drop in pressure should also contact DeKalb Watershed, the press release says. Drivers might also see some delays in the area due to the testing. Once the test is done, the repairs will be planned within two to three weeks, the press release says.

The days-long 2015 crisis hurt businesses and royally ticked off residents

The hydrant was struck on July 23, 2015. The county issued a boil water advisory two days later, and it remained in effect until July 27, 2015.

The water main debacle hit Decatur especially hard. The problems left many residents and business owners, particularly restaurants, frustrated. Some restaurants had to limit their menus to avoid using the county water during the advisory. The city of Decatur had to close its Slide the City water slide event early, bringing an abrupt end to a 1,000 foot water slide on West Ponce. The city reported that 3,600 tickets had been sold for the event.

Throughout the incident, residents complained about a lack of communication from county officials. Some of those residents included people in high places, most notably the CEO of DeKalb Medical Center, who worried about how the lack of pressure would affect surgeries at the hospital.

The incident led to strong condemnation from county commissioners and a public apology by a top county official.

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