Dry downtown: No estimate on restoration as water main break affects tens of thousands - WTVC

Dry downtown: No estimate on restoration as water main break affects tens of thousands - WTVC

Dry downtown: No estimate on restoration as water main break affects tens of thousands - WTVC

Posted: 12 Sep 2019 08:36 PM PDT

A major part of Chattanooga is dry, thanks to the break of a 36-inch water main near the Tennessee-American Water plant late Thursday night.

35,000 customers are affected, and area businesses and government offices near downtown are closed.

Hamilton County Schools closed for the day, and a spokesperson says some of Friday night's football games are affected. (Scroll down for more details).

The Hamilton County Health Department is asking restaurants in the affected area to close if they do not have running water under pressure.

Tennessee-American Water says repairs are now underway. Spokeswoman Daphne Kirksey said Friday afternoon that they WILL NOT have service restored by 8pm, as estimated earlier, but now say water will be off "for an extended period of time."

We have team coverage of this crisis. Depend on us for continuing updates throughout the day.

Scroll down below to read our updates as they come in.

UPDATE: (Friday afternoon):

Tennessee-American Water, Chattanooga, and Hamilton County officials shared an update on the continuing water main break situation Friday afternoon. Another news conference is planned for 8 pm ET.

See our continuing coverage below.


Beginning at 3 p.m. in the parking lots of several Youth and Family Development Centers, bottled water will be available.

According to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's office, water distribution sites will be open until 8 p.m. and will re-open at 8 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14. Each family will receive half a pack of water per day. Vulnerable citizens unable to travel to a distribution site call 311 at (423) 643-6311.

The locations include:

  • Westside
  • East Chattanooga
  • Avondale
  • Carver
  • East Lake
  • South Chattanooga


Tennessee-American Water spokeswoman Daphne Kirksey says a Voluntary Boil Water Advisory is in effect. This advisory is system-wide, applying to ALL TAP WATER for ALL Tennessee American Water customers in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area, according to Tennessee-American Water. Hixson Utilities says their customers are not affected.


UTC says due to the water main break, the WWE live event at McKenzie Arena has been postponed & rescheduled for Sunday, January 19, 2020. UTC says all tickets purchased for the event will still be honored on January 19. Refunds will be issued for those who can't attend.



  • Hamilton County Schools spokesman Tim Hensley says the Lookout Valley Middle/High against visiting team Hayesville has been cancelled. Hayesville is from North Carolina, and needed to know the status early in order to prepare.


  • Spokesman Hensley confirmed Friday afternoon that the Howard vs. Tyner Academy game to be played at Howard has been postponed. When the game will be played has not been announced yet.

To be played:

  • Hixson High, Central High, East Hamilton, Ooltewah High, and Soddy Daisy High are still scheduled to be played this evening, per Hamilton County Schools.


CFC says their Saturday match may be held in an alternate location due to the water main break. They plan to update their Facebook page as they learn more.

UPDATE (1:30 pm):

Hamilton County Emergency Management will hold a news conference at 3 p.m. regarding the outages, and including details on water distribution throughout the community.

Around 3 p.m., in the parking lot of several Youth and Family Development Centers, bottled water will be available for the vulnerable population. These locations included:

  • Westside
  • East Chattanooga
  • Avondale
  • Carver
  • East Lake
  • South Chattanooga

UPDATE: (12:00 p.m.)

Tennessee-American Water now estimates it will be 8 p.m. before water is restored at the earliest. (NOTE: As of 3pm, Tennessee-American Water says water will not be restored by that estimated time.)

From an email release from Hamilton County Emergency Services:

"Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy says law enforcement encourages residents to check on their neighbors. TVA's downtown complex has closed.

The Chattanooga Fire Department has a contingency plan in place with water tanker shuttles. TVA has supplied a pump for water out of the river.

Water and portable toilets are headed to the hospitals, thanks to the help of the state.
Water will be delivered to vulnerable populations who can't go get water.
Crews are working to isolate the water main break so they can start to repair the damage.
Tennessee American Water anticipates 6-8 hours of work once the break is isolated and repairs start. The earliest anticipation of water being restored is 8 pm.
More than 150 pallets of water will be dispersed to areas of high need. More will be available.
Officials are also working to procure bulk water tankers. Sally port of the jail is closed. All local agencies have been notified. Bottled water has been shipped in and portable toilets are being used.
All Hamilton county Schools are being dismissed according to their tier level dismissals.
CFD is working to maintain availability of water.
Tanker strike teams have been deployed to impacted areas. Another strike team is on standby from North Georgia, along with two teams at the state level.
EMS is having crews transport people to outlying areas unless it's a major medical emergency.
UTC has closed their campus and closed off academic buildings so they can keep residential buildings cool.
Red Cross is on standby. If needed, they will open shelters.
All hospitals are open. Erlanger North is still taking patients in their ER for the time being. Downtown facilities still have water flowing. They are staging water and portable toilets. Parkridge East is taking medical traffic.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE: (11:00 a.m.)

Water hydrants:

Chattanooga Fire Department spokeswoman Lindsey Rogers says crews have contingency plans in place with water tanker shuttles. TVA supplied a pump that will take water out of the river.

Local hospitals:

From Hamilton County EMA spokeswoman Amy Maxwell regarding Erlanger, whose downtown hospital is near where the water main break happened:

"Erlanger Health System downtown facilities including Baroness Hospital, Medical Mall, Children's Hospital, Kennedy Outpatient Center and other buildings at the downtown campus have been minimally impacted by the water break. Water levels and pressure are currently being maintained at the downtown campus. Erlanger North Hospital is currently without water and emergency procedures are in place. Erlanger East Hospital has not been impacted by the water shortage. Emergency protocols are in place to ensure water is maintained to provide safe and essential services for patient care. Should there be any changes in scheduling, patients will be notified as soon as possible with options to reschedule for non-emergent needs. Erlanger is working with all of our regional and community partners to ensure medical care is not impacted. Erlanger wants to thank all the agencies that are working to resolve the situation. Please understand Erlanger is working hard to ensure services are maintained."

Scroll down for information about CHI Memorial Hospital.

ROAD CLOSURES from City spokeswoman Richel Albright.

"E 5th Street will be closed to through traffic between Douglas Street and Collins Street while Tennessee American Water completes work on the water valve located in the street at 830 E. 5th Street closed. Local detours are posted."

The Chattanooga Convention Center now says all events are cancelled for the day.

We now have a crew at the Hampton Inn (mentioned below) where they are transporting water from the swimming pool in buckets to all rooms with toilets.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE: (10:00 a.m.)

In a news briefing at the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency, Tennessee American Water says 35,000 customers are affected, and this may be a "multi-day event." They say boil water advisories will not be necessary, but they're asking customers to limit their water use until the issue is resolved.

The pipe that was affected is 3-feet wide, which represents a massive break.

Watch the news conference and our live team coverage below:

A Tennessee-American Water spokesman says the hope is for all customers downtown to have water restored "by this evening," and folks in higher elevation and more outlying areas to have water restored "tonight or in the morning."

Hamilton County EMA spokeswoman Amy Maxwell says the entire county is mobilizing to confront the crisis.

She says "water buffalo" are being brought in from outside the county, which can provide drinkable water.

Erlanger says all non-essential surgeries at the hospital are being rescheduled.

Maxwell says all affected businesses must cease operations until water is fully restored.

Meanwhile, the downtown Hampton Inn hotel tells us it is now in "crisis mode."

Spokesman Scott Shepard says the hotel is using their swimming pool as a reservoir to use to flush toilets. They are giving bottled water to all of their guests, and they have enough food to get through breakfast for their guests.

However, they are NOT taking new guests until the issue is fixed, & Shepard says they are telling guests they won't be able to check anyone in until at least 6 p.m. Friday night.

We are also told that the AIM Center is closed for the day.

CHI Memorial Hospital says:

"Our water supply has been interrupted. We are doing everything possible to keep our operations continuing, however, we are in water conservation mode. Here are important notes:

  • Imaging is being rescheduled for our Hixson and Georgia campuses, as well as Ooltewah Imaging.
  • Hospital Hixson and Hospital Georgia are open.
  • 3. Cardiac rehab and the fitness center are closed.
  • The day care center is open.
  • We are asking visitors to stay home until water is restored.
  • Patients are being asked to conserve water. We have arranged for water to prep meals.

The Chattanooga Zoo says it has water, and they're filling up buckets just in case. Both the Hamilton County-Chattanooga Humane Educational Society and McKamey Animal Center have water, but they are also monitoring.

Full news release from Hamilton County Emergency Management:

"8:21 AM

A water outage is impacting a large area of Chattanooga.
Last night, Tennessee American Water Company had a scheduled outage and a 36-inch main broke in the Moccasin Bend area.
This is has resulted in the following parts of the city being without water: Moccasin Bend, North Chattanooga and Downtown.
TAWC is working to repair the water main. There's no ETA on completion at this time.
The Chattanooga Fire Department and Hamilton County EMA started mobilizing resources after 11 pm last night when they got the call.
All working fires in the impacted areas will have to request tankers from Tri-State Mutual Aid Association. A tanker task force is on standby.
Multiple public safety agencies are at the Hamilton County Emergency Operations Center working together to address issues caused by the outage.
Right now, hospitals, medical facilities and assisted living facilities are officials' top priority. They are also focused on making sure first responders have what they need, as well as the jail.
They have recommended that schools in the affected areas close.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency is providing 500 hundred pallets of water, as well as water buffaloes to help deliver large amounts of drinkable water.
This is going to be very hot day so extra steps will be taken to get water to those who need it.
The Tri-State Mutual Aid Association is gathering resources and agencies to draft water to keep fire hydrants full in those areas.

8:52 AM

Tennessee American Water Company reporting affected areas everything west of Missionary Ridge: Downtown, East Lake, East Chattanooga, Tiftonia, North Chattanooga, Red Bank and Signal Mountain.

Relocating Tanker Strike Teams to Chattanooga Fire Training Center to stage until needed to respond to a specific location. Teams include: Chattanooga Fire Department, Tri-Community VFD, Highway 58 VFD, Dallas Bay VFD, Sale Creek VFD, Sequoyah VFD, Soddy Daisy FD, Sale Creek VFD and Mowbray VFD.

Tanker Strike Teams on STAND-BY at Chattanooga FD Station 7 at Volkswagon Plant are: Bradley Co. Fire Rescue, McMinn County, Polk County, Meigs County, Catoosa County, Walker County, Dad County and Whitfield County.

9:55 AM

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture asks any food manufacturers or preparers to suspend their services until hot water can be re-established.

Kurt Stafford, Director of Engineering for Tennessee American Water, says last night, a planned project was happening when crews had an unexpected break on a 36 inch line.

  • This could be potentially a multi-day event.
  • They've closed a number of valves and crews are making progress.
  • An estimated 35,000 customers are impacted.
  • Voluntary conservation measures in place. Residents are asked not to water their lawns for the time being.
  • Teams are working as quickly and safely as possible to fix the issue.

"Everyone has the same goal here and that's to bring things back to normalcy as quickly as possible," stressed Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE: (9:45 a.m.)

ALL Hamilton County Schools have now been closed for Friday due to the disruption caused by the leak. Schools already in session will now release students.

A release from Hamilton County Schools says "The latest information from local Emergency Management indicates a continued problem with water delivery to schools due to a water main break downtown that will impact more schools during the day." The release says "Football game information will be released later today."

The Sports Barn downtown also announced it is closed.

The bottom line: If you have a business or place to go downtown, it's a good idea to call first to see if it is still open & operating normally.

The Bolles Co., Inc. is distributing portable toilets throughout the downtown area:

Right now, all event units are rented out, according to company officials.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE (Friday, 9:00 a.m.)

More closings:

  • Baylor School is closed.
  • Red Bank Middle & High Schools will close at 10:15 a.m.
  • Girls Preparatory School is closed today.
  • The Tennessee Aquarium & Creative Discovery Museum are both closed on Friday.

Hamilton County Government says if you have a court case scheduled for Friday, call the office of your presiding judge to see whether your case is still happening.

Hamilton County Jail: The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says: "Just like many other facilities and buildings downtown, the Hamilton County Jail has been impacted by the downtown water outage. However I want to reassure the public that we have contingency plans in place to address situations such as this in order to have continuity of operations when emergencies occur. The HC Jail remains operational."

The HCSO says fans are being brought into the jail along with portable toilets and bottled water to maintain operations until issue is resolved.

Depend on us to keep you posted.

UPDATE (Friday, 8:30 a.m.)

Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Tennessee has announced that its offices are closing, but employees who work from home are still encouraged to do so. While operations at its headquarters are suspended, phone lines are still open.

UPDATE (Friday 7 a.m.):

BREAKING: Hamilton County Schools have announced several schools have closed due to the outage. They include:

  • CSAS
  • CCA
  • Brown Academy
  • Battle Academy
  • Normal Park
  • Howard School
  • Howard Academy
  • Dawn Program

Child care for each of these schools is also cancelled.

As of 7 a.m. Friday, NO other schools have been affected by this outage, and are operating normally. But we will keep you posted.

We're told Sessions Criminal Office will be closed today due to the break. He says the criminal court office will be closed as well. Traffic court for the city of Chattanooga is also closed, with all cases scheduled for today passed for one week.

We later heard that all Hamilton County government offices located in the downtown area will be closed Friday. Other Hamilton County government offices in other parts of town will remain open.

The City of Chattanooga also announced several downtown locations will be closed.

  • City Hall
  • City Hall Annex
  • Chattanooga Public Library Downtown Branch
  • Development Resource Center
  • WellAdvantage Center
  • Paul Clark Building
  • Internal Audit
  • Workforce Development
  • Westside Head Start
  • Youth and Family Development Administrative Offices
  • Avondale Youth Development Center

The town of Signal Mountain, which uses Tennessee-American water to deliver water service to its customers, has also announced changes due to the water main break. An email alert sent to customers says "While we have water in our storage tanks, we are currently not receiving any additional water at our pummp station. We ask all customers to minimize water usage. No irrigation or other non-essential usage is permitted at this time."

Blood Assurance tells us its downtown office will be closed for the day, but other locations in town remain open.

The Chattanooga Convention Center tells us it will be closed today, but the owner says he will wait to see when the repairs are completed before announcing whether planned events for Friday night are affected.

UTC now says its annual State of the University address will be postponed:

We will keep you posted as new closings or delays come in.

Watch live updates on the water main break here.

UPDATE (Friday, 6 a.m.):

UTC sent out a text alert at 5:30 a.m. saying classes would be cancelled for the day due to this water main break.

We have a crew on the scene at the UTC campus where we're seeing workers containing a leak there. We're told this is not where the main break happened, but it is still something that needs immediate attention.

Tennessee-American says the main break happened near its plant that's located northeast of Erlanger's downtown hospital and south of the Tennessee River.

Tennessee-American sent out a release at 6 a.m.:

"Tennessee American Water experienced a main break late Thursday evening, September 12, near its plant. As we continue the repair, more customers will be affected, including downtown and North Chattanooga and experience low to no water pressure.

We sent a CodeRed, emergency notification to customers this morning, Friday, September 13 to alert the affected area. We anticipate this repair to take all day.
We apologize for the inconvenience as we work safely and as quickly as possible to complete the repair and restore water service."

Tennessee American also released a map showing customers affected by the outage, and it shows a large portion of its service area:

We have not heard word from any area schools other than UTC who have announced that classes have been affected. But we will keep you posted. Download the WTVC news app & turn on notifications. We will send out a push alert the moment we hear anything.

We also have not heard whether this outage will affect any planned events on the UTC campus later on Friday.

Watch live updates on this story on Good Morning Chattanooga, here.


Tennessee American Water says some Chattanooga residents and businesses may be without water after a water main break late Thursday evening.

The utility said that the break happened near their plant, and that customers in downtown and North Chattanooga may have low to no water pressure.

"We apologize for the inconvenience as we work safely and as quickly as possible to complete the repair and restore water service," a company spokesperson said in a statement.

Depend on us to update you as we learn more.

Read more: Downtown Chattanooga hospitals adjust to life with limited water service

Read more: Tennessee Aquarium works to save animals after water main break

Read more: Downtown hotels scramble to provide water to guests Friday

Read more: Portable toilet companies scramble to help dry downtown Chattanooga Friday

Settlement will help restore industry damaged watershed near Massena, Akwesasne - North Country Now

Posted: 13 Sep 2019 06:26 AM PDT

MASSENA -- For decades starting in the 1950s, several industrial facilities released hazardous substances into areas around the St. Lawrence River, contaminating and degrading natural resources.

Funds secured by the federal government, the State of New York, and the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe for resulting damage to natural resources, fishing and Mohawk culture are now available for restoration and recreational projects in the region.

The natural resource trustees, St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of Environmental Conservation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are accepting proposals through Oct. 15 for projects that cost up to $8 million and focus on restoring natural resources and natural resource services in the St. Lawrence watershed near Akwesasne and Massena.

The funds come from settlements with Alcoa Inc. (Alcoa West) and Reynolds Metals Company, as well as General Motors, which provided the trustees with $20.3 million for restoration. Since 2013, the trustees have used the funds to develop a Mohawk Master/Apprentice program and Mohawk language program, as well as provide support to programs such as the Akwesasne Freedom School and Cultural Center. The trustees have also acquired 726 acres of habitat at Coles Creek and Wilson Hill, restored habitat for Blanding's turtles and common terns, removed 4 stream barriers to open up 45 miles for fish passage, and constructed 4 boat launches and fishing access sites.

The goal of the natural resource damage assessment and restoration process is to replace, restore, rehabilitate, or acquire the equivalent of injured natural resources and resource services lost due to the release of hazardous substances — at no cost to the taxpayer. This process is distinct from the remediation or cleanup process overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and NYSDEC.

Projects must be located at Akwesasne or within or adjacent to the area affected by contamination from the General Motors, Alcoa or Reynolds facilities in Massena.

Restore natural resources or natural resource services, such as fishing. Outcomes could include acres of habitat restored or protected, new boating or shoreline access, improved water quality, restored fisheries, or improvements to other cultural aspects such as horticulture and basket-making; medicine plants and healing; hunting and trapping; or the Mohawk language and relationships between elders and youth.

Be consistent with goals in the St. Lawrence Environment Restoration and Compensation Determination Plan, which can be found at: https://www.fws.gov/northeast/nyfo/ec/files/stlawrence/RCDP_Full_Final%2...

Proposals must include enough information for the trustees to evaluate cost and restoration effectiveness. The maximum project award is $1,000,000 and the minimum is $25,000.

Proposal requirements and submission information is at https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=f19as00328, or go to Grants.gov and search for Funding Opportunity Number F19AS00328.


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