DeKalb County

Boil water advisory lifted in DeKalb County after massive water main break

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — DeKalb County officials completed repairs to a massive water main break Friday morning.

DeKalb CEO Michael Thurmond told Channel 2 Action News that the repairs were completed 24 hours ahead of the original schedule.

Late Friday afternoon, Channel 2's Aaron Diamant learned the county has ended the boil water order after 120 test results came back clear.

The 48-inch water main burst Wednesday and forced a boil water advisory for the county.

Billions of gallons of water went gushing through Buford Highway.

The main is one of four transmission lines that serves the county’s drinking water.

A large section of Buford Highway was closed for most of the day Wednesday, finally reopening shortly after 5 p.m.

DeKalb's Infrastructure Problems

DeKalb County's watershed department has faced infrastructure problems that have led to federal oversight in recent months.

Leaders told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr that Wednesday's water main break wasn't a part of a main line they were ever worried about.

On Wednesday, Carr found out the line is only 20 years old and it has received maintenance in recent years. It would not have raised a flag to government leaders who have identified aging pipelines for repair using a system that's cut out the need to bring several contractors into the mix.

“This wasn't an example of neglect of the system or an existing vulnerability that we knew we had,” DeKalb County Commission Chair Jeff Rader told Carr.

"It was a structural failure, it wasn't an aging line. According to supervisors on the scene, it's a relatively new line," Thurmond said.

Thurmond released a statement earlier in the day promising a full investigation into the main break:

“The DeKalb County government will initiate a full-scale investigation into the cause of today's massive water main break. We will determine whether the break was the result of a systematic failure, improper maintenance, wear and tear or physical tampering. I am committed to making sure our infrastructure is protected and maintained in a manner that will ensure quality service to the citizens of DeKalb County.”

The water main break was likely to have affected hundreds of thousands of people.