Boil-Water Alert issued due to E. coli - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Boil-Water Alert issued due to E. coli

(WMC-TV) - Hundreds of residents down in Horn Lake Mississippi were  having to boil their water, and officials are still left wondering why. 

Homes, schools, even dentist officers here in Horn Lake Mississippi were affected after a boil water alert was issued because E. coli was found in the water supply.

"We're putting water in people's mouths all day, every day," said Horn Lake dentist Dr. Preston McAlexander.

McAlexander is a dentist at Happy Smiles dentistry along Goodman Road.

He said phones at his office have been ringing off the wall.

Parents have been calling wondering if their child can still be seen after a boil water alert went into effect this past Friday.

"We have to be constantly reminded our staff, 'Don't drink the water.' When you brush your teeth and those sorts of things," added Dr. McAlexander.
McAlexander said his office already uses distilled water in all their equipment.

So, continuing business as usual wasn't a problem.

Horn Lake water officials said the boil water alert affects around 2,000 people north and south of Goodman Road between Horn Lake and Hurt Roads. 

"There can be a residue on a faucet when you took the sample. It doesn't necessarily reflect what's in the system," said Horn Lake Director of Operations Spencer Shields.

Three schools, Horn Lake Elementary and Middle and Shadow Oaks Elementary have been having to use bottled water until the alert is lifted. 

Water crews have been working around the clock taking samples and advising residents to boil their water before drinking it or cooking with it.

"You can still wash clothes because of the detergent.  Bathing in it is fine because of the soap you use," adds Shields.

City officials hope lifted the boil-water alert Wednesday.

The MSDH has provided steps you should take when your boil-water notice is lifted:

Flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing.


  • 1 faucet — run for 10 minutes
  • 2 faucets — run both for 5 minutes
  • 3 faucets — run each for 3-4 minutes

Flush any faucet a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.

  • Discard any drinks, ice, food, etc, made during the boil water notice.
  • Rewash any food or drink contact items (knifes, forks, plates, etc.) with "cleared" system water.
  • Check water filters (in faucets, refrigerators and elsewhere) and replace if necessary.
  • Do not use water from your hot water heater for drinking until several exchanges of the tank have occurred.
  • Run dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing dishes.

Boil-water alert tips while under a notice:

  • Do not drink tap water.
  • Do not use ice made from recent tap water.
  • Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.
  • Cook with tap water ONLY if food is boiled for at least one minute.
  • Wash dishes, fruits and vegetables in boiled water or water that has been disinfected with bleach. Using your home dishwasher is not recommended.
  • Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
  • Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.
  • Wash laundry as usual. Laundry washed in hot or cold water is safe.

Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 minute to kill most organisms.

If you cannot boil your water, mix eight drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly, and let stand for about 30 minutes before using.

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