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Atlanta's Boil Water Advisory Sparks Outrage

Activists argued the city should fund infrastructure rather than the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center

Atlanta's Boil Water Advisory Sparks Outrage

Atlanta is still under a state of emergency three days after a water outage shut down parts of the city’s downtown.

Areas in the city flooded after pipes burst where three water mains intersected on May 31. Residents have become increasingly frustrated with Atlanta’s leadership, which warned the public to boil their water before drinking it.

Thousands of residents were impacted by the water main failure.

Mayor Andre Dickens told residents on June 1 that the city was “working tirelessly and with great caution” to restore water.

We deeply apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and appreciate your patience,” Dickens said on X. “Our team is committed to resolving this issue swiftly and efficiently.”

On June 2, the mayor shared an update from the city’s Department of Watershed Management stating that the system was being “gradually” brought back online.

The city’s zoo and aquarium both closed on Friday due to the water issues. 

“Atlanta has spent billions in recent years to upgrade its aging sewer and water infrastructure, including a tunnel drilled through 5 miles of rock to provide the city more than 30 days of stored water,” reports NBC News. “Last month, voters approved continuing a 1-cent sales tax to pay for federally mandated sewer upgrades. The city at one time routinely dumped untreated sewage into creeks and the Chattahoochee River.”

Local activists have criticized the city government in the wake of the municipal disruption. They argue that the government prioritized funding for law enforcement over infrastructure repairs.

Whenever possible, the Atlanta ruling cliques say ‘Atlanta is the 6th largest metropolitan area,’ but neglect to say that the metro area is a 40 county sprawl and that the City is only 500,000 people, the size of Omaha,” wrote Defend the Atlanta Forest/Stop Cop City, an activist movement that opposed the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. “We don't need 2,000 cops, we need running water.”

“Let's be clear. Atlanta, GA is on a boil water advisory because local elected officials have chosen to prioritize the funding of violent police at the expense of local infrastructure, environmental safety and democracy,” wrote The Debtor’s Collective, a union of debtors, with the tag #StopCopCity on X.

Dickens was also criticized for frequently updating the public through the media. The mayor held a press conference at 8 p.m. on May 31 and 2 p.m. on June 1.

Someone in the affected area posted flyers around the neighborhood asking ‘Don’t have water?’ and ‘Help us find our mayor,’” reports NBC News.

Dickens was in Memphis when the water main burst and the flood began. 

“I was gone for less than 24 hours, and then I came right back,” he told CNN. “Residents wanted to see more of me Saturday morning before the 2 p.m. press conference. I understand that, and I apologize.”

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