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Despite pressure increase, water in DeKalb may not return for 2 days, officials say

Lanes are now open but water service may not return to many for another 48 hours.
Parts of Buford Highway flooded after a water main broke on March 7, 2018

DORAVILLE, Ga. - Officials have begun the repair process on one of four major water mains in the county after a 60-foot rupture near Buford Highway on Wednesday.

According to DeKalb County, repairs are more than halfway completed and everything should be running normal by Friday, March 9, at midnight.

The news came during a press conference held not far from the damage around 7 p.m. The interim watershed management director told reporters that repair crews would be working around the clock to repair the 48-inch main and have it back in service as soon as possible.

Unfortunately, due to loss of pressure, a boil water advisory will likely remain in effect until Saturday.

In the meantime, DeKalb Emergency Management has been in contact with government agencies, schools and hospitals to make sure they have needed alternative water supplies.

Currently, area hospitals have already regained enough pressure to operate normally; however, they remain under a boil water advisory as well. A representative from the Emergency Management Agency also said that schools usually have a supply of potable water in the event of an emergency - though they will have to close water fountains and ice makers until officials give an all-clear.

All lanes on Buford Highway are also open again as crews work to clean up and then repair a water main break. Crews inspected the roads and found no structural damage despite the deluge of water from the break.

The break occurred in a 48-inch transmission main located at 5718 Buford NE Highway. County workers were able to isolate the break and are working to assess the damage to the water system and restore pressure.

RELATED | What to know | Biggest takeaways from Buford Hwy main break press conference

According to an update provided by several officials from DeKalb County and the City of Doraville, repairs and assessments are underway at the site of the break. Crews hope to have the break and pressure back on within 24 hours however, no definite time was given. Crews were able to return water pressure to all DeKalb fire stations.

The break has caused low water pressure in the area. While DeKalb County's water plant is pumping at capacity, the plant is experiencing low pressure, according to the county.DeKalb County cautions residents and ask them to boil water for at least a minute after their water comes to a rolling boil before drinking, cooking or preparing baby food.Also, the county's fire department is working with other agencies to address the low water pressure along Buford Hwy. "In an abundance of caution for our citizens and to protect the public from any potential health hazards, residents in the affected area are being asked to boil water for at least one minute after water comes to a rolling boil prior to drinking, cooking or preparing baby food. Residents are advised to conserve water." There is no word on when the damage will be cleared and the roads reopened but commuters should steer clear of the area while crews work. Some alternates that are available are New Peachtree Road and Peachtree Industrial Blvd. GOVERNMENT CLOSINGS |DeKalb County officers will close at 11 a.m. on Wednesday. The DeKalb County Courthouse, including Board of Equalization and Clerk of Superior Court, will close at noon on Wednesday due to the water main break. The Board of Equalization hearings will be rescheduled.Brookhaven City Hall will close at 10 a.m. due to the water main break. The Planning Commission work session and meeting scheduled for 5 and 7 p.m. was also canceled. The Brookhaven Police Department, Municipal Court, and the recreation centers at Briarwood and Lynwood will remain open.DeKalb County Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs recreation centers will be closed for afterschool programs and the Exchange Recreation Center will be closing at noon.The Board of Commissioners has canceled the following meetings scheduled for Wednesday, March 7:
  • Committee of the Whole
  • Finance, Audit and Budget Committee
  • Public Works and Infrastructure Committee
DeKalb WorkSource's Returning Citizens Expo has been canceled for today and will be rescheduled. SCHOOL DISTRICTS |City Schools of Decatur announced on Facebook this morning that schools will be closed due to the water main break on Wednesday, March 7. (UPDATE: School officials say schools will hold classes Thursday)All campuses in the DeKalb County School System will release early due to the impact of the water main break. Early release times for Wednesday, March 7, are as follow:
  • Elementary Schools: 10 a.m.
  • High Schools: 11:15 a.m.
  • Middle Schools: 12:15 p.m.
“The health and safety of our students is always the top priority. The impact of the water main break and repairs makes early release the most prudent route,” said Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green.It was decided, however, that schools and offices will open as normal on Thursday, March 8. Districts will take precautions to keep students safe such as providing bottled water and water-free meal preparations. Additional hand sanitizers will be given to each school as well. DeKalb County Schools have encouraged parents to sent students to school with bottles of water as they do not have enough water for all students,"The district will bring in water for food preparation, consumption and hand-washing. DCSD is also seeking assistance from business, churches and community partners in providing bottled water for students. Parents are also encouraged to send their child to school with bottled water, if able." The City of Decatur schools and offices will also open as normal on Thursday, March 8, and students are encouraged to bring a full bottle of water and to continue to do so while the county remains under a boil water advisory. Breakfast and lunch will be served as normal and the nutrition staff will boil all water used for food preparations. Decatur City Schools will also be providing water bottles for their students, as well as other beverages typically served during lunch but encourage parents to send students to school with water bottles.The City of Decatur will also be given access to a 6000 gallon water truck to schools in case there is not enough water for students.RELATED | Over 15 schools impacted by water main break on Buford Hwy.RESOURCE | What to do during a boil water advisoryMEDICAL CENTERS |

The Centers for Disease Control will be closed on Thursday due to the boil water advisory that was issued on Wednesday, March 7, after the water main break.

DeKalb Medical has also announced that the water pressure at their facility is low and that elective surgeries that were scheduled for later today will have to be rescheduled. Following the water main break, all DeKalb County Board of Health Locations are closed for the day.

PHOTOS | Water main break shuts down Buford Hwy

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