Businesses serving untreated water despite boil water advisory in multiple cities

Editor's note: The boil advisory was lifted Sunday evening around 11 p.m.

The Department of Watershed Management (DWM) issued a boil water advisory "out of an abundance of caution" for residents in several cities south of Atlanta over the weekend.

They said a 30-inch transmission main at 1041 Fairburn Road SW disrupted service for South Fulton, Union City, Palmetto, Chattahoochee Hills as well as Fairburn. Residents in those areas may have noticed little to no water pressure.

FOX 5 reporter Eric Mock went door-to-door Saturday and found that many residents had no idea about the advisory. Others thought it had already ended. 

"I was unaware that there was a water issue in South Fulton," said Sheri David. FOX 5 spoke to her at Jolie's Ice Cream Shop in South Fulton. The owner of the shop said she had no knowledge of the issue either, but luckily, her sweet treats were pre-made.

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Jolie's Ice Cream Shop in South Fulton

"Thank God that I'm not water based," Saijorie Semple said. "My hand-packed ice cream is not made here, so I don't need the water."

While the DWM worked to repair the transmission main Saturday, a spokesperson told FOX 5 all businesses and residents in the affected cities should still be treating their water.

"We issue the boil water advisories for a reason, everyone should still be boiling their water," said Scheree Rawles, Director of Communications for City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management. 

Yet, at least seven restaurants across Union City, Fairburn and Palmetto admitted they were serving customers without boiling it first. These owners would not interview on camera.

The DWM insisted they sent out more than 21,000 robocalls to businesses to explain the advisory.

Sheri David, the resident, told FOX 5 now that she was aware, she would be stocking up on bottled water.

"We just ordered some from Instacart, so it’s going to be delivered for us," she said.

To ensure your water is safe for consumption, officials say you should boil tap water for one minute past a rolling boil, or stick with bottled beverages until the advisory has been lifted. Hands should also be washed with boiled water that's been cooled if you are going to prepare food.

Here are the various things you should use boiled water that has cooled, or bottled water for:

  • Drinking
  • Brushing teeth
  • Washing fruits and vegetables
  • Preparing food and baby formula
  • Making ice
  • Giving to pets

Click here for a boil water advisory FAQ.