MLGW crews work to restore water pressure, debunk plans to disconnect water

MLGW Boil Water Advisory still in effect

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Memphians are still being asked to boil water as crews work around the clock to fix the water pressure issue caused by broken water mains across the city.

The company said they do not know when they will be able to lift the boil water advisory at this time as they work to restore water pressure.

Sunday, Shelby County announced all county government buildings would be closed on Monday due to water pressure issues.

A broken water line late Saturday night in an abandoned furniture store on South Main Street caused a waterfall coming from the ceiling.

The broken lines that are buried four to six feet underground have increased water volume for MLGW by 50 million gallons compared to this time last year.

That has caused water pressure to drop, creating a potentially dangerous situation where bacteria can grow, forcing the boil water advisory.

Related: City of Memphis distributes 100,000 bottles of water

In a press conference Sunday evening, MLGW President and CEO JT Young described the system as an improving ICU patient.

“We’re still in critical condition, not quite out of ICU yet but getting better,” said JT Young, MLGW’s President and CEO.

MLGW crews have fixed 63 ruptured water mains since last Monday with 4 other breaks identified and under repair.

MLGW leaders believe there are more broken mains underground leaking thousands of gallons of water but those broken mains are difficult to find and even tougher to repair.

“A number of these water mains, some go under rivers or streams, some go under pavement, concrete. So what happens a lot of times, you may have a main break and it may actually stay underground and end up in a drain,” said Nick Newman, MLGW’s Vice President of Engineering and Operations.

This past July, MLGW started receiving a rate hike increase as part of a 5-year service improvement plan to update their outdated infrastructure.

WMC Action News 5 asked President Young Sunday about those infrastructure improvements that he said recently got underway late last year.

Will the improvements prevent a situation like this from happening again?

“Certainly we would be in better shape in general if we had our facilities upgraded as planned. I think certainly there’s a reason that we wanted to and asked for these improvements,” said Young.

Crews are focusing on returning service to customers currently without water and MLGW is now asking all customers to conserve water usage indefinitely as they work on the issue.

Any water that you plan to consume should be boiled for 3 minutes beforehand.

Related: What to do when a boil water advisory is issued?

Any building that gets water from MLGW or anyone who pays an MLGW water bill is affected.

Surrounding cities with their own water system are not affected.

If you see water coming out of the ground or from a home or business you’re asked to report it by calling 528-4465.

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