MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE (2/23) 4:30 p.m.:
MLGW continues to provide updates on the ongoing water issues.
MLGW described the situation as going from the ICU to stable recovery.
They’ve gone from red to yellow status.
So far 89 water mains have been repaired.
The boil water advisory will remain in effect until further notice.
About 260,000 customers across Memphis and parts of Shelby county remain under a boil water advisory following last week’s unprecedented winter weather conditions.
FOX13 spoke with MLGW spokesperson Gale Jones Carson about when the boil water advisory could end and why customers should continue conserving water.
She said the company hopes the issue will be fixed in a few days, but could not give a time that the advisory would end.
Residents are asked to keep water use to just the essentials. Residents should not be washing their cars, Carson said.
MLGW cannot shut down businesses, but the City Council can create an ordinance to control consumption during the boil water advisory.
Carson said no bacteria or contaminants have been found in the water supply.
Since last week, MLGW has repaired 77 water main breaks, while five are currently under repair. MLGW is still asking you to conserve your water use, and that includes not washing your car.
You would think now that the winter weather has passed broken water mains would not be an issue, but MLGW said as the ground thaws and shifts, water mains rupture.
Areas experiencing the biggest issues with water pressure include Midtown and Downtown. Once again, the goal is to conserve water, but if there is something you need to do like run your dishwasher, you’re asked to put it off until the middle of the night.
“If you can do that in that after you go to bed that’s when our regular load off that our customers use. Anything you can put off into the middle of the night. It really helps,” said Nick Newman, MLGW VP of Engineering/Ops.
MLGW said the water is safe for taking a shower and washing your hands. However, it has not been tested since the advisory went into effect. So as a precaution, you need to boil it to use it for cooking or for drinking.
Thousands in Memphis are still under a boil water advisory following last week’s severe winter weather and below-freezing temperatures.
MLGW President and CEO J.T. Young said things seem to be getting better, but there’s no telling when the water boil advisory will end.
“We’re still in red today but the good news is we seem to be trending in the right direction overall,” Young said. “So if you think about it as a patient in a hospital, we’re still in critical condition. Not quite out of ICU yet but getting better.”
In a press conference Sunday evening, Young also said MLGW is extending the water usage limit until further notice.
This was originally supposed to last until Monday. Young said they will let customers know when this can be lifted.
MLGW said they are working constantly to fix the main breaks.
They said demand has increased over this week, with an average of 170 million gallons a day compared to 106 million gallons on an average February day.
According to MLGW, there have been 10 repaired water mains up to today with four more broken mains found.
In total, there have been 63 broken mains since February 16.
Young said there may be more they don’t even know about yet.
“We have almost 3,000 individual premises that we had to visit to shut off water or do something at those locations that were behind the meter,” he said.
Young also spoke on the issue of public safety when it comes to hospitals and emergency workers such as the fire department.
He said this high priority in ensuring these places have the water supply needed.
“As we look around our system we’ve got a two-fold deal,” he said. “Number one, we’re trying to really figure out where we’re losing water. Where is the water going that’s not getting where it’s supposed to get to as indicated by the low pressures. While at the same time trying to make sure that those critical areas of functions have water that need water.”
On Monday, FOX13 spoke with MLGW spokesperson Gale Jones-Carson about current water troubles.
Cox Media Group