Likely Friday before need to boil water lifted

Published 11:44 am Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vicksburg’s boil water notice is expected to remain in force at least until Friday, city officials said.

“We have already sent one set of samples to the (Mississippi) Health Department in Jackson, and we’ll be sending another set tomorrow,” Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said Wednesday afternoon. “We have some areas that were not affected as badly as others, and we may check with the Health Department and see if we can remove some areas from the notice.”

The boil water notice was issued Tuesday night after power went out at the city’s water treatment plant on Haining Road about 4:30 p.m. and was restored about 7:40 p.m. A short in the plant’s elevator caused the outage.

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The boil water notice affects all of the city water system’s estimated 10,000 customers, which includes the Yokena-Jeff Davis Water District, which buys water from the city.

Although the water system’s pressure did not drop to 20 pounds per square inch, the level under which cities and water districts are required under state law to issue boil water notices, Van Norman said the boil water advisory was issued as a precaution.

“People are used to getting water at 120 psi; anything less, and they’ll call,” Van Norman said. “I don’t think any area had pressure (in the pipes) less than 60 psi.” He said the most affected customers were located in the city’s higher elevated areas.

The boil water notice caused a run on water at several stores in the area.

Andrea Rody, co-manager of Kroger on Pemberton Square Boulevard, said water sales were very steady as people stocked up for the duration.

“We’re well-stocked and we have more water coming,” she said.

County Market assistant manager Kenneth Peters said shoppers bought 2,000 24-packs of water soon after the notice appeared over smartphones and through CodeRed, the county’s telephone warning system. “We sold a lot of gallon jugs, too,” he said.

Debbie Shiers, assistant manager at Corner Market on South Frontage Road said the store sold out of gallon jugs of water.

“The schools and the nursing homes came in here and bought water,” she said. “We have no gallon jugs on the shelves. A lot of it was bought between 1 and 2 this afternoon. We still have cases of water.”

Vicksburg Warren Superintendent of Schools Chad Shealey said county schools affected by the water crisis went through the day without problems, adding the system would follow the same policy of using bottled water and covering school drinking fountains until the notice is lifted. Officials with local restaurants said they were coping with the water problem by selling bottled water and bottled or canned soft drinks, and boiling water for tea and coffee.

“We’re using 2-liter and 3-liter bottles of drinks and bottled water,” said KJ’s River Towne Grille manager Charlie Belden.

Larry Prentiss said his restaurant, LD’s Kitchen, was selling canned drinks and water.

“We have a plethora of drinks available,” said Klondyke owner David Day. “We’re boiling water for tea and coffee. For cooking, it’s boil the water and follow the recipe.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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