Church members fuming over water leak problem

by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:

ATLANTA,None - As members of a northwest Atlanta church prepared for Ash Wednesday, they walked by a water leak that has been a source of frustration for months.

Water is flowing from the ground along Northside Parkway, right next to St. Anne's Episcopal Church.

"It's beyond frustrating," said Lee Dudley, a church member who said he and other worshipers have called the city to fix it at least 50 times since they saw the leak in October 2011.

"After we called a few times, the water department asked us not to call back," said church leader, the Rev. Eddie Ard. "We did keep calling them back because we think this is such a waste of a natural resource -- a precious natural resource."

By their estimate, the leak appears to be the equivalent of turning on four or five garden houses 24 hours a day. They believe millions of gallons have been lost.

Ard said he can't help but thinking of his time in Tanzania a few years ago. He recalls people digging 10 feet into the ground just for a glass of muddy water.

"It really hurts knowing there are people who can't drink water, that don't have access to water," Ard said.

But Atlanta Department of Watershed Management officials said they have been working to fix the problem, but it's turning out to be a big repair.

A 16-inch valve needs to be replaced and that means water pressure will be affected for a large part of the area, including businesses along Howell Mill and Collier roads, along with Northside Parkway and I-75.

A spokesperson said they will replace the valve overnight, and the plan is to start work at midnight Mar. 9.