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Germantown says all water customers may resume usage

By , Daily Memphian Updated: July 31, 2023 6:41 PM CT | Published: July 27, 2023 2:25 PM CT

Thursday afternoon, July 27, Germantown notified residents that they could resume water usage after flushing their lines.

This comes a week after the city asked all residents to only use tap water for flushing toilets after a diesel leak at the Southern Avenue water treatment plant on Thursday, July 20. About 4.2 million gallons of water were contaminated. The spill happened Wednesday, July 19 during a process to refuel a generator powering the plant.

Germantown residents frustrated over water crisis communication

Instructions for flushing lines

Flushing the lines helps get rid of water that was standing in interior pipes. Due to the city’s flushing process, residents may see sediment or discoloration in the water as they begin flushing their lines. 

Those who have not detected the scent of diesel in their water are asked to let their faucets run for five minutes.

Those who smelled diesel from their faucets previously or now are asked to follow a more extensive process:

  • Open a few cold water taps and run for 15 minutes to clear the residential water line from the main
  • Open cold taps one at a time and run for five minutes to clean each specific line. The city said to begin nearest to where water enters the building and then move to farthest tap. Repeat for all cold taps.
  • Then do the previous two steps but with hot water. To flush a water heater, fill a bathtub twice.
  • The city encouraged any dishes or clothing washed during the restriction be rewashed.
  • Devices using water, such as ice-makers, may require additional cleaning.
  • If the odor persists residents are asked to repeat the process. If the fuel smell still occurs, residents are asked to contact Germantown Customer service by email or calling 901-757-7200.

After the city lifted the order it shared data that led Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation to agree to lift the order limiting residents to flushing toilets. The tests were conducted by a third-party. Results can be reviewed here


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Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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