Power outage at water plant forces citywide boil water alert

Published 7:16 am Wednesday, November 4, 2015

A blown fuse at a water well and a faulty generator were the apparent causes of a power outage that shut down the Vicksburg Water Treatment Plant on Haining Road for about three hours this morning, forcing city officials to issue a citywide boil water notice for the water system’s estimated 10,000 customers.

It was the second time in about three months a power outage shut down the plant and forced city officials to issue a boil water notice.

Entergy customer service representative Shelia McKinnon said city officials reported the outage about 5:48 a.m., adding power was restored to the plant about 7:16 a.m. No other areas around the plant were affected, she said.

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Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said a fuse at the city’s No. 6 well blew, causing a fuse on an Entergy utility pole supplying power plant to blow. He said the emergency generator at the plant failed to properly operate when the power went down. “It had sufficient fuel to operate, but it just kept going down (after starting),” he said.

He said some areas of the city did not lose pressure and city officials were reassessing the citywide boil water notice. City officials expected service to be fully restored by mid-morning.

Mayor George Flaggs called the generator problem inexcusable.

“If we had had some kind of training and accountability system, someone would have made regular inspections on that generator and this wouldn’t have happened,” he said.

The effects of the boil water notice was felt early in the area. Officials at St. Aloysius and St. Francis Xavier Catholic schools and Porter’s Chapel Academy cancelled classes. Vicksburg Warren Schools District Superintendent Chad Sheeley said schools in the city were open, and school district officials were ordering bottled water and portable toilets for the schools.

Water service was restored to the schools by about 8:45 a.m.

Chik-fil-A operator Nick Jones said the restaurant would offer a limited menu, adding customers would be served bottled water or lemonade, which was being made from bottled water.

City officials were forced to issue a citywide boil water alert on Aug. 27 after a power failure shut the plant down. In 2013, an electrical problem at the water treatment plant caused officials to issues a citywide boil notice.


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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