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Message to Research Community on Impacts of the Water Main Break – June 30, 2020


-- Update June 30, 2020 -- 

Water Main Repair & Timeline

  • Atlanta Watershed is continuing their work on repairing the break at Hemphill and Ferst.  
  • They are still in the process of installing line stops and hope to have that complete by tomorrow.
  • Until they get the line stops installed, they will not be able to inspect the damaged line and provide an accurate assessment of their repair time.  
  • The best case scenario is that they will be able to get the water stopped today/tomorrow and complete the repair by Friday.  
  • However, should they discover additional damage to adjoining pipes, this could take longer.

-- Original Message June 28, 2020 --

A break reported Saturday in a 36-inch water main at the corner of Hemphill Avenue and Ferst Drive is having impacts on Georgia Tech research operations. These impacts will include temporary suspension of research operations in certain buildings near the break, and cautions to researchers concerning water quality and supply in other facilities. The current estimate by Atlanta Watershed Management to complete the repair is Wednesday to Friday.

This situation may change as repairs are made and researchers should be aware of potential impacts on their research operations. If alarms are sounding in buildings, researchers should safely secure their experiments, leave the building and alert the Georgia Tech Police Department (404-894-2500) and Environmental Health and Safety via their emergency phone (404-216-5237).

Several buildings in the vicinity of the break do not have water pressure, meaning safety systems such as sprinklers are offline and some building safety system alarms have been triggered. Research operations in these buildings are suspended until the water main repairs are complete. Buildings in which research operations have been suspended include:

  • Callaway Manufacturing Research Center (Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute)
  • Love Manufacturing Building
  • Manufacturing Related Disciplines Complex
  • Paper Tricentennial Building

(Boggs Building has been removed from this list)

This list may not be complete and may change as the repair proceeds and more is learned about the impacts. Researchers in other buildings should be prepared for disruptions, and check for potential impacts on laboratory systems. Specifically, researchers should:

  • Check eyewash stations and water pressures regularly.
  • Avoid use of pyrophoric or water reactive chemicals.
  • Assume water is unsafe to drink until told otherwise and provide their own water. The city of Atlanta has issued a boil water advisory.
  • Not use building water for preparing food or drink.
  • Be aware that lab water filtration for equipment may be impacted by the condition of water provided to buildings.

Updates will be provided by Georgia Tech Office of Emergency Management & Communications and the EVPR Office as new information is made available. Building managers will have information on specific research facilities.


Chaouki Abdallah
Executive Vice President for Research

Rob Butera
Vice President for Research Operations