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MLGW: boil water advisory could be lifted in one or two more days following water testing | Local lawmakers share MLGW frustrations

Most customers saw water pressure back to normal Wednesday; some state lawmakers met with MLGW to relay customer concerns, offer state funding solutions.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — Good news, MLGW customers: water system repair progress continued Wednesday and the boil water advisory for most of Shelby County could now be lifted in one or two more days. 

MLGW President Doug McGowen said overall water pressure is back to normal for most customers, after crews repaired more than 35 broken water mains in recent days.

Starting Wednesday afternoon, water samples at sites were collected. Those samples must be stored for 18 hours; they'll then be tested by MLGW and if they come back OK, the clean water samples must also be confirmed by the state. 

McGowen plans to life the boil water advisory once certain areas in the water system are given the all clear.

"We will lift it where we can and when we can, so I understand there are two options here, I could wait for everything to come in and lift it at one time but try to help as many people as soon as I possibly can," McGowen said.

Earlier Wednesday, Democratic Shelby County state lawmakers also met with MLGW leaders. They shared their constituents' water related frustrations but also discussed ways state money in the next legislative session could assist with infrastructure improvements in the coming months.

It continued a mix of bipartisan criticism and solution seeking by lawmakers, as frustrations still linger for thousands of MLGW customers without water or strong water pressure for days.

"Anytime that our constituents are uncomfortable or their quality of life has been affected it always creates an additional sense of urgency," Rep. Antonio Parkinson said. "We have to rely on those experts at Memphis Light Gas and Water to tell us what we need, what they need rather and, you know, we'll go to bat for them and try to make it happen."

Tuesday, Republican state Rep. John Gillespie tweeted his frustrations about the boil order and said he'll push for state money to replace MLGW water pipes next legislative session.

"We all want the same things, we want reliable uiltites that no one worries about," McGowen said in response Wednesday afternoon. 

He said between the Memphis City Council's rate increase approval in 2018 and another federal grant, nearly $300 million are committed to water system updates and underway.

Still, McGowen appreciated sharing ideas with state lawmakers.

"I assured them that if there is something they can do for us, if there is a gap in our five year plan, we will evaluate that, we will let them know that there is a need that we haven't identified yet," McGowen added.

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