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UPDATE: Boil water alert could be lifted for Tupelo Saturday

Tupelo Water and Light says the state is working to get the boil water alert lifted after lunch Saturday afternoon.

Posted: Oct 21, 2017 8:04 AM
Updated: Oct 21, 2017 8:04 AM

7:30 p.m.

Tupelo officials are still hoping to the state will lift the boil water alert for the city Saturday after lunch.

Multiple water samples were tested throughout the day Friday.

Restaurants and coffee shops have been dealing with the alert.  For example, Crave switched to disposable containers and used boiled water to wash dishes.  However, Starbucks decided to close both of its Tupelo locations.

Meanwhile, grocery stores have been busy keeping bottled water in stock for those needing it.

4:45 p.m.

Tupelo city officials found out from the Mississippi State Department of Health late Thursday morning that a boil water alert was necessary for the city.

However, major media outlets didn't find out about the alert until late Thursday afternoon.

So what happened?

Officials with Tupelo Water and Light say they assumed the news media would get the word out about the alert after receiving it from the state.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, it did disseminate the information Thursday as follows:

11:20 a.m. - MSDH was notified by TW&L about the need for the boil water alert

11:44 a.m. - MSDH posted the alert to its website

11:57 a.m. - An email was sent to some at MSDH and to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency

12:01 p.m. - MSDH faxed the alert to media outlets, including WTVA and WLOV

However, the state says it is the responsibility of the water system provider to notify customers that water needs to be boiled due to a potential problem.

The city said nothing about the alert on its social media accounts until Friday morning.  It sent no news releases to media outlets about the boil water alert.

WTVA/WLOV does report boil water alerts, but they are almost always received by phone or email from the affected water system.  And while faxes were common years ago, it's rare these days for the newsroom to receive news releases that way.

Thursday 9 p.m.

Raybern Foods is shutting down production on Friday due to the boil water notice in Tupelo.

Production employees do not need to report for work.

Only office staff is scheduled for work on Friday.



8:30 p.m.

Public schools in Tupelo will be open Friday, but school district officials say students will be given bottled water.

They add that there may be menu changes as well to deal with the boil water alert.

Meanwhile, Tupelo Christian Prep is taking a different approach to the water precaution.

 Original story

TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - The City of Tupelo is under a boil-water notice after water sampling showed the presence of Total Coliform and E. coli bacteria.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) says the alert was issued Thursday, October 19.

This affects approximately 38,439 customers who receive their drinking water from the City of Tupelo water supply.

Health officials strongly recommend that all water be boiled vigorously for one minute before it is consumed. 

This precaution will last at least two full days, states MSDH. Water system officials will be immediately notified when the boil water alert is lifted. 

Tupelo Water and Light says the state is working to get the boil water alert lifted after lunch Saturday afternoon.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency sets drinking water standards and has determined that the presence of E. coli is a serious health concern.

Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.

Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. 

They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children and people with severely compromised immune systems.

City of Tupelo Water Superintendent Greg Reed says the water department sends 40 samples off every month for testing. He says one sample came back negative. 

Reed says crews were alerted near noon on Thursday. He says this notice is a precautionary measure. 

He says if you consumed water earlier in the day, you should be fine.

The city will send more samplings off Friday. He says they should know more by Saturday afternoon.


Checklist for safe water use:


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.


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.


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.


When your boil-water notice is lifted:

Flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing.

        1 faucet — run for 10 minutes
        2 faucets — run both for 5 minutes
        3 faucets — run each for 3-4 minutes

Flush any faucet a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.

Discard any drinks, ice, food, etc, 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 dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing dishes.








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