Frayser residents relieved after learning tap water isn’t contaminated

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A lot of Frayser residents think their tap water is contaminated.

Up until today, Courtney Cobbins was one of them.

"I haven't been drinking it. We were drinking water from water bottlers. Like, everybody has water bottles over here," he said.

So we told him what the city and MLGW told us.

The drinking water is fine, and, in fact, was never affected by Friday's sewage overflow at the Maynard Stiles wastewater treatment plant.

"I'm very happy to hear that we can drink water. We good with the water now," Cobbins said.

The city says our drinking water comes from a below-ground aquifer that's separated from the sewer system.

"I'm very happy to hear that," Cobbins said.

The wastewater plant, which is north of Mud-Island, flooded Friday and caused three pumps to fail.

The ensuing sewage backup forced the city to start dumping wastewater into the Mississippi River.

"We had no other alternative. We had to protect property and protect health and safety," Public Works Director Robert Knecht said.

The city blames the issue on the age of the plant and how high the Mississippi River is.

According to the city, the plant is currently going through millions of dollars of upgrades to stop something like this from happening again.

The city says federal dollars will pay for those and says you will pay for the cost of the sewage overflow clean-up through higher sewer fees passed in January.

"No general fund dollars or tax dollar, none of those revenues come to this situation," Knecht said.

The city will have to pay state fines for the raw sewage it dumped into the Mississippi River.

Officials say your higher sewer fees will pay for that too.

The city hopes the plant will be fully functional by tomorrow.

We asked if sewage is still being dumped into the Mississippi, but as of 4:56 pm, the city hasn't answered that.