MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - MLGW customers are still under a boil water advisory and are still being asked to conserve water. But MLGW’s leader says that could change by week’s end.
“The news today, I think, is optimistic,” said utility CEO J.T. Young during the daily MLGW briefing on Tuesday, February 23.
Five days since MLGW’S boil water advisory went into effect, crews are making progress. The MLGW system status update shows:
- 89 ruptured mains have been repaired
- 99 of 134 wells are operational
“We may get 77% of our wells back online, but the rest of those wells are long-term repairs that we will have to take care of,” said MLGW V.P. of Engineering Nick Newman.
MLGW says water pressure has improved in many areas. The north edge of the service territory is still having issues, but crews were heavily focused on that part of town Tuesday. Outside contractors are helping with leak detection, and state officials confirm the water is being tested.
“I think we had about 40 samples yesterday and they all came back negative,” said David Money with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. “They’re good. They collected an additional 30 or 40 today and will continue to do so. MLGW will do additional sampling based on the areas as they come back online.”
Broken pipes in homes and businesses and busted fire suppression systems, sprinklers, that haven’t been discovered yet are the main concern for MLGW now. Utility leaders say no customer will be disconnected for non-payment.
Customers can call MLGW starting next week to work out payment plans. This historic strain on water service, say, utility leaders, could be nearing an end.
“The extended freeze time of this is unprecedented in my career at MLGW, and it definitely did some damage to our equipment,” said Newman.
“Overall, I’m optimistic that we are certainly in the home stretch now and about to be a great position here in just the next couple of days,” said Newman.
Shelby County Schools students are supposed to return to the classroom next week. MLGW says as long as the school can boil water used for food preparation and children don’t drink water from the tap the schools should be OK to reopen.