The Commercial Appeal

MLGW lifts ‘boil water’ advisory for all customers

- Micaela A Watts

Memphis Light, Gas & Water has officially lifted the “boil water” advisory issued to all customers last week.

Officials with the utility company expressed optimism on Wednesday following a week of crews working around the clock to execute $3.6 million worth of repairs to the infrastruc­ture’s 135 broken water mains caused by the severe winter weather.

On Thursday, utility president J.T. Young started off the daily briefing with the announceme­nt customers could now drink water without boiling it. The pressure across the system has now stabilized, and all pumping stations are operationa­l, he said.

“We’re grateful for being able to say that,” Young

said. Continuing with the patient-inthe-hospital analogy he’s used throughout the week to describe the status of the system, Young said, “The patient has been released from the hospital and is doing very, very well.”

Young asked that both residentia­l and commercial customers continue to conserve water through 10 a.m. Friday morning as crews continue to flush air out of water lines throughout the city.

In addition to the broken water mains that ruptured across the city, residentia­l leaks also caused tens of millions of gallons to hemorrhage from the system every day.

While some progress has been made in capping the amount of leaks, the utility is still soliciting calls from customers who have leaks on their property, said Nick Newman, the vice president of engineerin­g and operations for electric, gas and water.

For customers concerned about high water bills incurred because of leaks, Young said the company would automatica­lly issue a one-time price adjustment to customers who had leaks on their property.

Those adjustment­s will be made automatica­lly; customers do not have to call the company about their water bill, Young said.

“It will take a few days to get the program done, but we recognize these are extenuatin­g circumstan­ces,” Young said.

The boil water advisory was issued as an automatic precaution. When water pressure drops below a certain level, it triggers an automatic advisory per state standards.

Low pressure means systems are vulnerable to sediments and biological contaminan­ts, but Young emphasized that at no point were contaminan­ts ever detected in the system.

Newman offered additional guidance points for MLGW customers: throw out any ice that was made with water drawn during the advisory; and should water lines make any slight noises, more than likely it’s air leaving the line.

Young expressed gratitude for both the patience and support from MLGW customers and the crews that worked around the clock to make the necessary repairs.

When the utility issued the advisory last week, it was the first such advisory of its kind in the utility’s history.

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