MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Light, Gas and Water are urging customers to continue conserving and boiling their water as crews work to make repairs this weekend.
MLGW president JT Young says that while no contamination has been detected in the water, it is important customers continue to adhere to the boil water advisory. Young says the water system is still in a “critical” state.
“The boil water notice is precautionary because of water quantity, not quality,” Young said.
MLGW is asking customers to conserve water until midday Monday at the earliest.
Young says he’s been meeting with MLGW crews as they work to repair ruptured water mains and frozen or burst pipes throughout Shelby County.
“Those are our heroes,” Young says.
Young says the unprecedented amounts of snowfall and wintry precipitation has impacted crews’ abilities to make repairs. MLGW is also asking drivers to slow down when they see crews out working.
Nick Newman, MLGW’s vice president of engineering, says 53 water mains have been repaired so far. Crews are currently working on repairing seven others.
MLGW officials say the increase in water usage over the past week has contributed to the destabilized water pressure. MLGW says the water system is in the red, pumping 155 million gallons of water a day compared to the average 100 million gallons, which is adding more stress to the system.
“With the warming temperatures, we are expecting to see more failures and breaks in lines. That’s going to happen,” Young said. “Even with the infrastructure plan, had we waved a wand and infrastructure had been updated that we had planned to do, with this kind of weather we would still have some challenges to deal with.”
Newman says MLGW is working on creating a map that shows where water main breaks are happening.
So far, MLGW has cut off services to 2,295 homes/businesses due to frozen or burst pipes.
Newman says areas experiencing the most issues with low water pressure have been Shelby Forest, downtown, Midtown, Hickory Hill and the airport areas. He says there has been slight improvement Saturday as crews work to stabilize water pressure.