Schools, businesses plan to reopen Thursday after water main break

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A major water main break Wednesday impacted services across DeKalb County, which is under a boil water advisory.

Among the many schools, hospitals and government offices impacted, Channel 2 Action News learned DeKalb Medical rescheduled elective surgeries, City Schools of Decatur closed and DeKalb County schools dismissed early, along with Emory University.

Channel 2 Action News will keep you updated throughout this breaking news. Download the free WSB-TV news app to receive alerts about it as the story develops.

"Oh, it’s a huge impact, you know, for everyone," said Kara Pfau, a parent who works from home.

When she found out her daughter would be released early from Chamblee Middle School on Wednesday because of the nearby water main break, she was able to go get her daughter with no problems. But a few of her friends, who also have children at the school, started to panic.

"I have friends that work so I’m picking their kids up and helping, ya know? We all help each other out," Pfau said,

Her daughter Cameron didn’t understand why school wasn’t canceled before kids arrived Wednesday morning since there was a problem with her water at home.

"That's why I was confused, I mean you can’t use the restroom or do anything at school without water," she said.

The water main on Buford Highway broke in the midst of students already heading to school so there wasn’t enough time to cancel.

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes also stopped at Stone Mountain Elementary School to see how their dismissal process was going.

Fernandes spoke to a 3rd grader with her mother's permission and she said what her teachers were saying about the short day of school.

"They said we have to get ready to leave because the water wasn’t working, no one could use the bathroom because if they flushed it, it would get stopped up," said Teyuanna Mitchell.

All lanes of Buford Highway reopened around 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

DeKalb County Schools say they will have class on Thursday:

"After consulting with local government and health officials, the DeKalb County School District (DCSD) will reopen on Thursday, March 8, 2018.

"We have been in constant dialogue with our partners at DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Board of Health. Following that consultation, we will reopen our campuses while taking great care to ensure we have a healthy learning environment," said Superintendent/CEO R. Stephen Green. "We have a good plan that covers sanitation, food service and other aspects of our operations impacted by the water event today. We'll be ready for our students."

"As importantly, we ask each of our partners and patrons to contribute or donate water, and perhaps hand sanitizers, directly to our campuses," Green added. "For many reasons, having an abundant supply of drinking water throughout the day is important."

Minute-by-minute coverage: 

5:02 p.m.: DeKalb County said all lanes of Buford Highway have reopened

12 p.m.: Emory Healthcare is closing many of its DeKalb County clinic locations today because of the Buford Highway water main break. Clinics that are closed include Clinics A, B and C on the Clifton Campus, along with clinics located in the 1525 Building on Clifton Road. Emory Clinics in Tucker, Dunwoody, North Decatur Road in Decatur, Ponce de Leon in Decatur and Family Practice Associates in Dunwoody are all closed. Patients are being notified directly about these closures, and are being rescheduled as needed.
11:59 a.m.: The Infusion Centers and Radiation Oncology will contact patients directly about their appointments.
11:58 a.m.: At Emory University Orthopaedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH) on Montreal Road in Tucker, surgical cases have been canceled.


11:58 a.m.: At Emory University Hospital on Clifton Road, surgical and procedural cases continue as normal. Operations also continue as normal at Emory Rehabilitation Hospital and on Emory's Wesley Woods Campus.

10:59 a.m.: Senior centers will close at noon today. In addition, there will be no after school programs at any recreational facilities today.

10:57 a.m.: Perimeter Mall will be closed until service is restored.

10:47 a.m.: All DeKalb County offices are closing today at 11 a.m. Employees who have not reported to work should not. Those who have reported to work should leave by 11 a.m.

10:10 a.m.: DeKalb County Animal Services officials say they are in "urgent need" of gallons of water for the hundreds of animals in the agency's care.

Donations can be dropped off at 3280 Chamblee Dunwoody Road in Chamblee.

9:50 a.m.: The DeKalb Medical Wellness Center is closed for the day.

9:46 a.m.: Due to the impact from this morning's water main break along Buford Highway in Doraville, ALL DeKalb County Board of Health locations are now CLOSED for the day.

9:42 a.m.: City Hall in the city of Brookhaven is closing early due to the water main break.

9:38 a.m.: DeKalb County Courthouse, including Board of Equalization and Clerk of Superior Court, will close at Noon on Wednesday, March 7, 2018 due to water main break.

9:30 a.m.: Emory University will close at 10 a.m. today due to a major water main break in DeKalb County that has impacted Druid Hills campus operations. The low/no-water situation has not affected the Yerkes Gwinnett or Oxford College campuses, which remain open.

9:18 a.m.:  The DeKalb campus and the Starnes Athletic Training Center at Georgia Piedmont Technical College will open at noon.

The South DeKalb campus will remain open.

‪ALERT: WATER MAIN BREAK‬ ‪As of 3/7/2018:‬ ‪Extremely low water pressure at the college owing to water main break....

Posted by Georgia Piedmont Technical College on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

9:16 a.m.: All DeKalb library branches are scheduled to open at 11 a.m. due to water outages or low water pressure at some locations.


“However, further delay is possible if water issues are still unresolved later this morning,” library officials said in a statement.

Check the library system’s Facebook page for updates.

A water main break on Buford Highway has left many areas of DeKalb County and some library branches with no or low water...

Posted by DeKalb County Public Library on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

9:15 a.m.: The Atlanta office of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is closed today, the agency announced. Appointments are being rescheduled.

9 a.m.: The DeKalb County Emergency Operation Center is open.

8:53 a.m.: City Schools of Decatur are now closed due to a massive water main break.

City Schools of Decatur will be closed today, March 7, 2018, due to the impact of the water main break in DeKalb County....

Posted by City Schools of Decatur on Wednesday, March 7, 2018

8:50 a.m.: DeKalb County's offices in downtown Decatur are closed and without water. Today's Board of Commissioners meeting is canceled.

8 a.m.: All campuses in the DeKalb County School District will release early on Wednesday, March 7, 2018, due to the impact of a water main break.

Early release times are as follows: 
•    Elementary schools – 10 a.m.
•    High schools – 11:15 a.m.
•    Middle schools- 12:15 p.m.

7:04 a.m.: Water pressure at DeKalb Medical is low. The hospital posted this message on Facebook:

“Due to a county water main break, water pressure is low right now. Patient safety is always (our) number one priority and please be aware that we have measures in place to keep our current patients safe! However, elective surgeries scheduled for later today will be rescheduled. We will keep you updated.”