Over 29,000 Vicksburg residents without water after massive main - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Over 29,000 Vicksburg residents without water after massive main break

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
VICKSBURG, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Vicksburg has declared a water emergency and thousands of residents are without water after a massive water main break. 

According to Mayor George Flaggs, over 29,000 Vicksburg residents could be without water for up to five days after a major water line break. 

A 36-inch water main broke around 11:00 Wednesday morning. This line is the main water line, next to the water treatment plant, that cleans water for the whole city.

Flaggs says work is ahead of schedule to fox a water main break in Vicksburg. 

The plan is for contractors to work around the clock. 

Residents say they want to see some progress soon because they want they water back on as soon as possible. 

"I needed things to bad, needed things to cook with and everything else," said one Vicksburg resident. 

"It takes water for life. Water is life and ya know without water we can't make it," said another resident. 

Mayor Flaggs understands their concerns.

"We had to shutdown our water plant, so there is no water going into the city," said Flaggs. "We got to get to the water line to repair it. It's about 11 feet deep."

What caused the break is still a mystery. The city is trucking in tons of mud to build a damn to get to the broken pipe. 

"We have to build a levee that is 12 feet high and then we have to pump the water out to go in and go down and fix leak, " said Flaggs. 

That water main is now completely under water and due to the rising water, the city cannot get to it.  

In order to get to this water main and make repairs, engineers are working to build a dam.  

RELATED: The city of Vicksburg bracing for flooding from the Mississippi River

Mayor Flaggs has verbally declared a water emergency, and Thursday at 10 a.m., he plans to formally submit a water emergency in order to free up the funds to fix the line.  

All the water is currently shut off at the plant, and it could take UP TO FIVE DAYS to fix the ruptured line.

"This is what is now, it is unfortunate we are dealing with 100-year-old infrastructure," said Flaggs. "There is no way could have predicted this." 

All Vicksburg-Warren County schools will be closed Thursday, May 18 and Friday, May 19 due to the water outage.  

29,430 people are without water right now in Warren County.

The city will be setting up water distribution sites starting Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at Pemberton Mall. Red Cross is also assisting with water. 

Water system officials notified the Mississippi State Department of Health of a system wide pressure loss due to a major line break. When a distribution system loses pressure, contaminants can siphon back into the water.

Public health officials consider any system that loses pressure contaminated until tests prove otherwise. Health officials strongly recommend that all water be boiled vigorously for one minute before it is consumed.

The water system will be notified when tests show that the water is safe to drink.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

11:00 a.m. Wednesday afternoon, May 17 - 36-inch water main, that cleans water for the entire city, breaks and city issues boil water notice for 29,430 customers

4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 17 - Mayor and city officials hold press conference at water treatment plant 

9:00 a.m. Thursday, May 18 - Water distribution sites open at Pemberton Mall

10:00 a.m. Thursday, May 18 - Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs to formally submit a water emergency in order to free up funds to repair the line

Thursday, May 18 - Friday, May 19 - All Vicksburg-Warren County Schools will be closed due to water outage

HERE'S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE UNDER A BOIL WATER NOTICE:

DO NOT

  • Do not drink tap water while the water system is under a boil water advisory.
  • Do not drink from water fountains in parks, public or private buildings that receive water from the affected system.
  • Do not use ice unless it has been made with boiled water. Freezing will not necessarily kill harmful bacteria.
  • Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.

DO

  • Wash your dishes in boiled water, or use paper plates for the next few days.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with boiled or bottled water since they may have been exposed to affected water from grocery store sprayers.
  • Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.
  • Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
  • Cook with tap water if the food will be boiled for at least one minute.

AND REMEMBER:

  • Properly chlorinated water in swimming pools is safe.
  • Fish in aquariums are not affected.

Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will inactivate all major types of harmful bacteria.

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