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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

MLGW issues Boil Water Advisory for Shelby County; directive orders restaurants to close

This Boiled Water Advisory includes all MLGW water customers in Shelby County. Some of the suburban cities are not included - they are on other water systems.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 2/19/2021 - The Shelby County Health Department has issued a directive for restaurants that can not adhere to the Boil Water Advisory to temporarily close until the MLGW Boil Water Advisory has ended.

The health department said this directive only impacts those restaurants who are MLGW customers and rely on MLGW for their water. The directive only impacts businesses that are customers of MLGW that are unable to provide bottled water or boil water before using it to prepare any food or beverage for public consumption. 

During a Friday news conference, MLGW President and CEO said they expect the pressure issues/boil advisory will continue through the weekend and into next week.

They do NOT plan on any dramatic residential measures, such as shutting off particular portions of town. They have asked larger commercial businesses to conserve, and may have to limit their water supply.

Read the directive HERE.

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From the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County: 

IMPORTANT: Please note that the Boil Water Advisory also applies to drinking water for your pets.

  • Pets can get sick by some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people. Provide bottled or boiled water after it has been cooled for pets to use.
  • If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes, then allow it to cool before use.
  • Boil tap water even if it is filtered.
  • Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.
  • CDC recommendations: https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/emergency/drinking/drinking-water-advisories/boil-water-advisory.html

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2/18/2021 - Thursday Memphis Light gas and Water issued a precautionary boil water advisory impacting all its customers.   

This is MLGW’s first ever boil water advisory and the utility company said it’s being issued because of water main breaks and low water pressure on MLGW’s water system.   

MLGW says there’s no indication that water quality has been impacted and the boil water advisory is a precautionary advisor.

So why is it being issued?  

“The freezing and the thawing of the ground causes differential shifts in the layers where the water main is buried,” said Nick Newman, the vice president of engineering and operations. “So what is does it actually breaks the water main.”  

When water pressure becomes too low, groundwater can seep into old pipes that include biological contaminants.   

During a boil water advisory, use bottled or boiled water for drinking and to prepare and cook food.   

Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.    

Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water.    

The utility company is also asking people to conserve water until Monday at noon.   

To do so,  don’t let the water run while brushing teeth and shaving and take short showers.  

This advisory comes after MLGW asked customers to conserve water usage Wednesday due to high demand from residents trying to keep their pipes from freezing.    

To safely drink water from the tap you need to bring it to a boil for at least three minutes and then let it cool before consuming.    

There are 48 water main breaks in the Memphis area MLGW is working on five more now.   

Also at least 250 homes and businesses so far had to be cut off due to frozen pipes and 150 more will be soon.   

Boil advisories are rare for MLGW.  

“This is the first one we’ve ever done,” said Newman. “This is the worse incident we’ve had of the entire system having a problem.”   

MLGW said when it’s no longer necessary to boil water, the utility company will notify customers.     

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(MLGW NEWS RELEASE) - Due to recent water main breaks and freezing temperatures that have caused low water pressure in MLGW's water system, Memphis Light, Gas and Water has issued this advisory to notify water customers to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking), in accordance with regulations of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). 

This Boiled Water Advisory includes all MLGW water customers in Shelby County. 

Low pressure in the water system and breaks in water mains could allow harmful bacteria to affect water quality. Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria and all customers should follow these directions. 

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for three minutes. 

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes. 

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, MLGW will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.  

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, MLGW will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice.  

MLGW also reminds customers to continue to conserve water usage. 

Please share this information with other MLGW water customers, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. 

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may call, 901-320-3950. 

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Bartlett Statement: 

"MLGW has issued a Boil Water order for customers on their system. If you are a Bartlett Water customer this does not apply to you.

The City of Bartlett operates a water system which is separate from the MLGW system and the MLGW boil water order DOES NOT apply to City of Bartlett Water customers at this time. The City of Bartlett Water System is currently isolated from the Memphis Light Gas and Water System.

Our production capacity and distribution system is intact and currently can supply the pressures and quantities necessary to service our customers. Water provided by the City of Bartlett Water System is safe to drink and use and does not require boiling prior to use."

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Collierville statement:

"In anticipation of Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) issuing a precautionary boil order for its customers, Collierville water customers are not included in this order. The Town of Collierville has its own independent water system that is not connected to MLGW’s system.

Through the Public Utilities Division of the Public Services Department, the Town produces and distributes our own water to residents from four (4) water treatment plants. The Water Treatment Plants are located on Fleming Road, Frank Road, Distribution Parkway, and Main Street. Even during this inclement weather, the Town’s water system is fully operational, and our water pressure remains normal.

If you are having any issues or experience a water emergency, please do not hesitate to contact Collierville Public Services at (901) 457-2800 during the weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours, please call the Collierville Police non-emergency number: (901) 853-3207." 

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Germantown Statement:

"In light of yesterday's announcement from Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) regarding a precautionary boil order for its customers, we wanted to remind Germantown water customers that the greater majority of them are NOT included in this order.

The City of Germantown has its own independent water system that is not connected to MLGW’s system. Through the Public Works department, the City produces and distributes our own water to residents from the two water treatment plants - one on Southern Avenue and another located in Johnson Road Park. Even in the midst of this inclement weather, the City’s water system is fully operational and our pressures remain normal.

If you are having any issues or experience a water emergency, please don’t hesitate to contact the Germantown Public Works department at (901) 757-7350 during the weekdays between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. After hours, please call (901) 757-7338.

*There is a small caveat. There are a few businesses and residents in our City limits that are supplied by MLGW as the City does not have a supply line nearby. That includes areas south of Winchester, off McVay Road at Stout Road and off Crestridge. Public Works staff is working to directly notify each of these customers. As of Thursday evening, you may have received an email if the precautionary boil order applies to you. If you have not yet received an email, a member of the Public Works staff will attempt to contact you via phone on Friday. If you believe that this applies to you and you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact Public Works today (Friday, February 19) at (901) 757-7350 between 7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m."

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From Public Utility Commission: 

WHY A BOIL ORDER?

Lower water pressure in the pipes allows groundwater and other contaminants to seep into older pipes that may have cracks. Some of that groundwater could contain harmful bacteria that can only be eliminated by boiling the water.

In all cases where a boil water notice has been issued, you should boil the water for consumption but also for brushing teeth and washing hands. Children, seniors and those with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria that could exist in the water.

Bring the water to a vigorous, rolling boil for five minutes and then allow it to cool before using.

You can boil water and then store it in the refrigerator for later use.

You can also substitute bottled water if available.

During a boil water notice, IT IS safe to shower or bathe as long as you don't ingest the water.

Once power is stabilized and water pressure is restored, it may take 24 to 48 hours before the boil water notice is lifted.