MLGW offering bottled water giveaway for customers with no tap water

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When it comes to giving back, people from the Mid-South and beyond showed up by the dozens.

This time, it was to donate unopened cases of water for people who are part of MLGW boil water advisory and those with no water.

The donations started coming in around 8 a.m. Monday. By Monday afternoon, MLGW said it distributed 1,600 cases of bottled water.

“My wife, she has family in Olive Branch, so we came in to visit for the holidays, and we saw the news on TV, of course, so we wanted to come in and drop off some water to support,” said Jamel Lee, who dropped off water and was visiting from Atlanta.

Fred Jones, founder of the Southern Heritage Classic, donated 100 cases of water to help.

“I’m just encouraged by the spirit people have in this community. We’re all in it together.”

Cars lined Lamar Avenue for hours, as MLGW customers waited their turn to the lot to get their temporary water supply.

“My water is out,” one driver said. “I needed this water.”

MLGW president and CEO Doug McGowen said there were 22 water main breaks in Shelby County.

Although 19 of them were back up and running by midday Monday, much of the city has low-water pressure.

Some customers have no water at all.

“This is why we’re making big investments in our water system and get out there and stabilize the water system, make it more resilient,” McGowen said. “For the short term, we know this is a big inconvenience for folks, and we just ask that everyone comply with the boil water advisory for the time being.”

For now, these customers have at least 24 bottles of water to cook, brush their teeth, and drink.

The other two giveaways happened at the MLGW offices in Millington and Whitehaven.

The company said it is prepared to give out more water tomorrow, if needed.

Memphis, Light Gas and Water was issued a Precautionary Boil Water Advisory due to freezing weather and power outages.

MLGW identified a large number of commercial businesses with fire protection system leaks or breaks; so far, 15.

Those breaks significantly decrease the pressure and volume of water in the system and prevent it from getting to other customers.

As a precaution, MLGW is asking all customers to boil water before drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes and food preparation until further notice.

Tap water is safe for bathing and showering but try to avoid getting it in your mouth.

Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.

The bacteria can cause symptoms like nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.

MLGW is distributing water from 10 a.m.-noon Tuesday at two locations:

  • Pleasant Chapel Missionary Baptist Church, 4813 Benjestown Road
  • Hickory Ridge Mall, 6075 Winchester Road

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MLGW is taking the following actions:

1. Increased output at pumping stations to try and build and maintain pressure

2. Crews are repairing known water main breaks. At present, there are five known main breaks

3. Other crews are working to detect breaks in water mains or along the distribution system.

4. Asking commercial property owners of unoccupied property to check their property for leaks

Customers can call MLGW’s 24-hour Emergency number, 528-4465, if they see water coming out of the ground or if water is coming out of homes or businesses.

Business owners should check their water service and irrigation systems to ensure they have not ruptured.

Customers should also call 528-4465 to report downed power lines and gas leaks.

On Christmas, MLGW increased pressure for wells and pumping stations, pushing out twice the normal volume of water, as a temporary measure during the leaks.

However, tonight MLGW will have to scale back the increased volume, in order to refill reservoirs overnight.

Further, MLGW is expecting another day or two, to correct all the issues.