City alerts residents ahead of potential water issues Tuesday

Staff Writer

Shower early or sleep in, one or the other. While that may be a simplistic approach, it’s the essence of the advice West Point city leaders are giving water customers for how to approach Tuesday when the city shuts down its north water treatment plant and converts over to the south plant.

The move likely will mean brownish or reddish water for some customers, especially in the areas closest to the south plant which is located just west of South Side Elementary off Louis Odneal Road.

The change over will start sometime between 7 and 8:30 a.m., according to chief water plant operator Paul Caskey. Crews will first open fire hydrants in the area around the plant, including on West Church Hill toward Peco, near Church Hill Elementary, and areas along Highway 45 Alternate to help filter out the dirty water, if there is any, on the front end.

“We don’t know if we are going to have any or how much but since this plant hasn’t been used in three years, we suspect there will be some. But we don’t know how much,” Caskey said.

Early risers should have taken showers and be off to work by the time the water starts flowing. Others can “sleep in” until later in the morning, one city worker joked.

“By noon or so, it all should be gone, but you just never know for sure,” Caskey added.

“And there shouldn’t be any in areas out to the river or even east West Point or up north. If there is, it won’t be much at all and won’t last long,” he continued.

Water department crews will start flushing some lines Monday and that could result in isolated spots of dirty water, but the most, if it comes, will be Tuesday morning.

The water, if dirty, is not harmful or dangerous. It’s even OK to drink, although it will have an iron or metallic taste.

The city does warn that anyone who needs to wash clothes, especially whites or light-colored items, to do so Monday. That’s especially true for hotels washing sheets and towels, or restaurants washing napkins and table cloths. Those should be done by Monday night to have a supply to get through Tuesday, Caskey said.

Crews have spent the last two weeks testing the wells that serve the south plant, checking gauges and tanks, and doing other prep work.

The water going through the plant has passed health tests.

The north plant is being shut down for a $500,000 cleaning and repainting that will extend its life another 15 to 20 years.

If customers have dirty water Tuesday, they should let their water run for “10 minutes or so and it should clear up,” Caskey explained.

Customers also can let their outside faucets run, letting the dirty water run out.

“The faucets outside should get the water first. Water some plants or something and clean it out before the water gets inside,” Caskey stated.

If residents still have concerns or their water doesn’t clear up, call 662-494-2262 to report it so crews can check if necessary.

“We hope it won’t be much, if any, but we want people to be warned, to know it’s coming. That’s why we’ve been talking about this for two weeks now,” Water and Light Manager Boodro Marsac said.