Memphis Under Boil Water Advisory


  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Memphis Light, Gas and Water issued a water boil advisory Thursday, February 18th. Here’s their news release in full:

Due to recent water main breaks and freezing temperatures that have caused low water pressure in MLGW's water system, Memphis Light, Gas and Water (PWS ID 0000450) has issued this advisory to notify water customers to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking).

This includes all MLGW water customers in Shelby County. Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for three minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, MLGW will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, MLGW will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice.

MLGW also reminds customers to continue to conserve water usage.

Please share this information with other MLGW water customers, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

Freezing temperatures broke “numerous” water mains, the utility said Wednesday. Water pressure was low across the water distribution system yesterday. Water levels were low in several pumping station reservoirs. For this, MLGW asked customers to report water running in a street as it is usually a sign of a water main break.

Water outages were so common in Memphis this week that MLGW officials had to fight a rumor that it was cutting off customers' water. Gale Carson Jones, MLGW's vice president of community and external affairs issued a statement on the matter Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.

The utility was still battling the rumor on Twitter Thursday after a string of tweets to concerned customers yesterday. 
  • TVA/Facebook

What to do in a boil water advisory:

what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends for those under a boil water advisory:

If your local health authorities issue a boil water advisory, you should use bottled water or boil tap water because your community’s water is, or could be, contaminated with germs that can make you sick.

Advisories may include information about preparing food, beverages, or ice, dishwashing, and hygiene, such as brushing teeth and bathing.

Standard recommendations usually include this advice:

Use bottled or boiled water for drinking, and to prepare and cook food.

If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for 3 minutes), then allow it to cool before use.

Boil tap water even if it is filtered.

Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Breastfeeding is the best infant feeding option. If you formula feed your child, provide ready-to-use formula, if available.


In many situations, you can use tap water and soap to wash hands. Follow the guidance from your local public health officials.

Be sure to scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and rinse them well under running water.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Bathing and showering

Be careful not to swallow any water when bathing or showering.

Use caution when bathing babies and young children. Consider giving them a sponge bath to reduce the chance of them swallowing water.

Brushing teeth

Brush teeth with boiled or bottled water. Do not use untreated tap water.

Washing dishes

If possible, use disposable plates, cups, and utensils during a boil water advisory.

Household dishwashers generally are safe to use if the water reaches a final rinse temperature of at least 150 degrees Fahrenheit (65.55 degrees Celsius), or if the dishwater has a sanitizing cycle.

Sterilize all baby bottles.

To wash dishes by hand:

Wash and rinse the dishes as you normally would using hot water.

In a separate basin, add one teaspoon of unscented household liquid bleach for each gallon of warm water.

Soak the rinsed dishes in the water for at least one minute.

Let the dishes air dry completely before using again.


It is safe to wash clothes as usual.


Use bottled water, boiled water, or water that has been disinfected with bleach to clean washable toys and surfaces.

Caring for pets

Pets can get sick by some of the same germs as people or spread germs to people.

Provide bottled or boiled water after it has been cooled for pets to use.

If bottled water is not available, bring water to a full rolling boil for 1 minute (at elevations above 6,500 feet, boil for three minutes), then allow it to cool before use.

Boil tap water even if it is filtered.

Do not use water from any appliance connected to your water line, such as ice and water from a refrigerator.

Caring for your garden and houseplants

You can use tap water for household plants and gardens.

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