MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Officials with Memphis Light, Gas and Water are continuing to ask its customers to conserve water as much as possible.
MLGW President and CEO JT Young says they expect at least a couple more days of this boil water advisory before it can be removed. Meanwhile, when it comes to broken water mains, the hits just keep on coming.
MLGW says their crews are playing “whack-a-mole” with the city’s broken water mains and water lines.
On Sunday, workers fixed 14 more ruptured water mains that broke while thawing out from extremely low temperatures last week.
In total, crews have repaired 77 water mains since Tuesday with more repairs being done all day Monday.
“We need to get those leaks fixed so our plants don’t have to work so hard to get our pressure up in the city, in the county,” said Nick Newman, MLGW Vice President of Engineering and Operations.
The problem is a large increase in water volume is causing water pressure to drop, and the issue has only gotten worse in recent days.
On Sunday, total water supply-demand increased another 6 million gallons, reaching another peak of 176 million gallons, 50 million gallons above normal.
“We could see it increase, we’re hoping not to,” said JT Young, MLGW President and CEO.
“That’s absolutely part of what we need to see happen,” said Newman. “If we can reduce that water demand that would help our plants be more stable.”
MLGW says no contaminants have been discovered in the drinking water but admits they have not been able to do any testing due to the low water pressure.
“The boil order notification is telling your customers there could be an issue with your drinking water so you don’t do testing until you’re able to get that pressure back up substantially and that’s when you start your testing process,” said Newman.
There are several lengthy state-required steps MLGW must pass before removing the boil water advisory.
Once water pressure is restored MLGW will flush the line by opening fire hydrants for a day or so.
Afterward water samples will be taken with results coming back within 16-24 hours.
Overall that process will take time.
“If I was to make, I don’t want to say a guess but an educated guess probably two days once we get the pressurized system out,” said Newman.
The utility has also been asking customers to boil their water before drinking, brushing their teeth or cooking. MLGW says you do not need to boil water before washing your hands or bathing.
A Water System Status Dashboard is released daily & posted here: https://bit.ly/3bobUhW