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Mayor Dickens declares Atlanta’s infrastructure needs complete revamp after water main havoc

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Atlanta’s mayor says the city needs a complete overhaul of its aging infrastructure. This comes after water main breaks caused major disruptions in parts of the city.   

As Mayor Dickens stopped in to talk to seniors at QLS Haven in southwest Atlanta, he talked about the water pipes that burst one week ago, causing widespread problems that affected hospitals, businesses and residents.  

“We’re going to work on these aging pipes we have. The pipes that burst were 1920s and 1930s pipes,” he told the group.  

During an interview with FOX 5, the mayor said there were 500 breaks and leaks last year; it is time for an entire overhaul of the system.  

“We need to do a full system review of aging inventory and replace them before they break. That means the pipes, the valves, all the mechanism to future proof them,” said Mayor Dickens. 

He said a project of this size is expected to cost billions of dollars.  

“I don’t anticipate having to go to the rate payer, the citizens.  We’re going to utilize funds we already have in our MOST and capital improvement plan, but to accelerate things we’re going to need to go to the federal government and ask for their help,” said Mayor Dickens. 

It will also take time to dig up the road, replace pipes, then repair the road.  

“That’s a long construction cycle for each set of pipes to replace, so you’re talking about weeks to replace each one and months to replace sections,” said Mayor Dickens. 

There are also plans to use technology that will help detect a leak before it’s too late. The mayor talked about sensors that use artificial technology to detect water main breaks and leaks faster, before water starts gushing out of the ground.  

“They’re sensors, but they use artificial technology to predict, utilizing technology to give us advance notice and some predictive analytics as well, and that will help us really be ahead of the game,” said Mayor Dickens.  

The mayor says they plan to start using the AI devices this summer, starting in Midtown, Vine City, and English Avenue, then spread out across the city. 

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