State health department gives precautions for boil water notice

Published 7:45 pm Friday, February 19, 2021

Vicksburg remains under a boil water notice until further notice as public works and utility employees work to repair leaks and get the water system back in operation.

Once the system is back in operation, officials said, water samples will have to be taken and tested by the Mississippi State Department of Health before the water in the system is declared safe to drink.

“This is citywide,” Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said of the problem. “We’re going to be taking a lot of samples.”

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

How many tests will be taken before the water is declared safe, he said, will be determined by the Health Department. And while the water system’s customers wait for the system to be cleared, the Health Department has some do’s and don’ts to prevent problems for users:

  • Do not drink tap water.
  • Do not use ice made from recent tap water.
  • Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.
  • Cook with tap water only if food is boiled for at least one minute.
  • Wash dishes, fruits and vegetables in boiled water or water that has been disinfected with bleach. Using a home dishwasher is not recommended.
  • Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
  • Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.
  • Wash laundry as usual. Laundry washed in hot or cold water is safe.
  • To Disinfect water, bring water to a rolling boil for one minute to kill most organisms.
  • If you cannot boil water, mix eight drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach (5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) per gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly, and let stand for about 30 minutes. (This treatment will kill bacteria, but not parasitic organisms.)
  • If water is muddy or cloudy, remove any sediment by straining it through a cloth or filter paper before disinfecting.
  • Alternatively, water may be treated with chlorine or iodine tablets.
  • If you cannot boil your water, mix eight drops (1/8 teaspoon) of unscented, ordinary household chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Mix the solution thoroughly and let stand for about 30 minutes before using.
  • When the boil-water notice is lifted flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing. For example, one faucet — run for 10 minutes; two faucets — run both for 5 minutes; three faucets — run each for 3-4 minutes.
  • Flush any faucet for a minimum of two minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.
  • Discard any drinks, ice, food made during the boil water notice.
  • Rewash any food or drink contact items (knives, forks, plates, etc.) with cleared system water.
  • Check water filters in faucets, refrigerators and elsewhere and replace if necessary.
  • Do not use water from your hot water heater for drinking until several exchanges of the tank have occurred.
  • Run the dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing.


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.

email author More by John