ATLANTA -- Business owners and an Atlanta city councilman says the Atlanta Watershed department has mistakenly shut off water at Atlanta businesses over the last several days – and the businesses say it needs to stop.
It happened Monday at Argosy, a popular East Atlanta restaurant and nightspot – which announced it was closing for the night "due to the gross incompetence of the Atlanta Department of Watershed Management."
"We didn’t get a disconnect notice or anything like that. They just came and shut it off (Monday) morning," said Armando Celentano, co-owner of Argosy.
The sudden loss of water cost the restaurant a day’s business and its staff a day’s wages and tips. And then its owners learned they weren’t alone. A week earlier, the business losing its water was the Star Community Bar – a rock music dive that’s shaken Little Five Points for 26 years.
"It was a week and a day after I had paid the bill in full," owner Kahle Davis told 11Alive News. "All of a sudden one of the bartenders comes to me and says 'hey we don’t have any water.'" Davis says he, too, lost business for a night but didn't have to close completely.
City councilman Kwanza Hall says the same thing happened at an Auburn Avenue nightspot called Pal’s Lounge. "You shouldn’t be shutting people off if they’ve actually paid" the bill, Hall said. "So we’ve got to find out... is it a human error? Or is it a technical error? Or both? So that’s fair game for a review or some type of mini-audit."
A Watershed spokeswoman emailed a statement saying the Star Bar water was mistakenly shut down after the business made a payment. "We are in the process of resolving that system issue to avoid any further instances."
Of Argosy, the statement says "all attempts to contact the customer prior to the disruption of services (were) made and were unsuccessful." Argosy is open seven evenings per week. Hall says part of the problem is an absence of Watershed workers who can effectively deal with business that open in the evening.
"Somebody is clearly screwing up, repeatedly. And not learning from previous mistakes," said Davis. .