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'We haven't experienced this since COVID' | College Park businesses frustrated, forced to close due to water woes

A College Park councilman said 2/3 of the city has low water pressure or no water at all as of Dec. 28 following catastrophic failure in pipes across metro Atlanta.

COLLEGE PARK, Ga. — As thousands of homes and businesses are still without water across metro Atlanta, 11Alive is working to get answers as to why this happened and how long it's going to take until the water is turned back on.

"We'd like more communication, and we want to hear more about what is being done to fix the situation," explained Jamelle McKenzie, Chairperson of the Business and Industrial Development Authority in College Park. 

The community reached out to 11Alive after going on four days with more than half the city without water. 

"We really do not understand what is going on right now," McKenzie said.

McKenzie works hand and hand with business owners across College Park. She said almost all the businesses along Main Street in the city are without power.

"We are now going on our fourth day where our businesses especially around this main street corridor are without water which means they’re not doing business," she said.

Ebony Austin, who owns Nouveau Bar & Grill, knows first hand. "It’s definitely hurting our bottom line for sure," Austin explained. 

She walked 11Alive through her empty kitchen and showed our crew that none of the faucets had running water. She said with no water, she can't run her business. 

"We haven’t experienced this since COVID, since the pandemic happened," Austin explained. "The light bill doesn’t stop, the gas bill doesn’t stop, the rent doesn’t stop, you know for your salaried employees you still have to pay those employees."

A frustration shared by city leaders including College park Councilman Roderick Gay.

"It's very unfortunate in fact my house has little or no pressure," he said.

Councilman Gay gave a little insight into the problem College Park is experiencing. 

"It was like a 1, 2, 3 punch. The main water source comes from the City of East Point and Clayton County is our second source of water. What we experienced is that Clayton County had low pressure and water breaks, at the same time we had the same problem in East Point," Councilman Gay said.

11Alive asked Councilman Gay if all of this could have been avoided. He said they didn't believe so but added, "We can always learn to better plan and start looking for other sources of water."

11Alive was told the Mayor of College Park has been out of town. Councilman Gay said the city is optimistic their water tank, which is currently very low will be filled in the next 24 hours. This will get them through the weekend potentially, he said.

Councilman Gay said this will, in turn, help the other cities they're relying on get back to a better place as well to get more water pumping. He said they've ordered truckloads of water to distribute. They're also making it so that anyone who is homebound can have water delivered to their home.

If you need water, you can pick it up at the following locations: 

  • Fire Station 1
    3737 College Street
  • Fire Station 3
    5131 West Fayetteville Road

The City of College Park is reminding its citizens to boil all water used for consumption until further notice.

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