Boil-water advisory could lift by Thursday, MLGW chief says

By , Daily Memphian Updated: January 21, 2024 7:29 PM CT | Published: January 21, 2024 3:54 PM CT

Memphis Light, Gas and Water president and CEO Doug McGowen said by Wednesday, Jan. 24, he believes the area will receive sufficient water pressure to send samples for testing, which takes 18-24 hours.

Assuming results are good, MLGW could lift the boil-water advisory Thursday.

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McGowen provided the update at a Sunday, Jan. 21, press conference. The press conference was held at the Sheahan Pumping Station on Grandview Avenue, not far from the University of Memphis campus.

Thursday is a conservative estimate to lift the boil-water advisory, he says.

“Right now, we’re on a really good path,” McGowen said at the press conference.

Customers are requested to stop dripping faucets and refrain from going to get their car washed. That will help save 10 million gallons of water a day, McGowen said.

All of MLGW’s water customers have been under a precautionary boil-water advisory since Friday, Jan. 19.

MLGW first issued a boil water advisory to about 15% of its water customers on Thursday before it expanded.

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MLGW has previously said that the utility is tirelessly focusing on finding and fixing the leaks causing low or no water pressure. 

Over the next 24 hours, all customers should have water service.

McGowen says as water pressure continues to build, it’s likely more businesses will be able to open.

Due to above-freezing temperatures beginning on Sunday, MLGW has said it is expecting more leaks to be revealed. As leaks are repaired and pressure is restored, MLGW will begin testing samples in order to lift the boil-water advisory.

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Electric, gas and customer service MLGW employees are all part of a volunteer effort to look for water main breaks.

Various agencies have been distributing free cases of water to citizens at locations in Memphis and Shelby County.

About 20% of Millington residents are affected by the advisory, as well as all Arlington and Lakeland residents.

Bartlett and Collierville have their own water systems and are unaffected.

Most of Germantown is unaffected, except the Forest Hill and Crestwyn area south of Winchester; Maywoods Cove; and areas off Crestridge west of Germantown Road.

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Residents in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are suffering same fate as water system in Memphis, McGowen said.

MLGW has said its crews have been working to spot and fix leaks.

The Memphis area received between 3 and 6 inches of snow between Sunday, Jan. 14, and Monday, Jan. 15, leading schools and colleges across the area to remain closed for the rest of the week after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

The snow remained in many areas as temperatures did not climb above freezing during the week; the city and other agencies began ice and snow removal for roads.


MLGW Doug McGowen
Elle Perry

Elle Perry

A native Memphian, Elle Perry has earned graduate degrees from the University of Memphis and Maryland Institute College of Art. She’s written for publications including the Memphis Business Journal, Memphis Flyer and High Ground News, and previously served as coordinator of The Teen Appeal.


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