VICKSBURG, Mississippi — An estimated 10,000 customers on the City of Vicksburg's water system and in the Yokena-Jeff Davis Water District, which buys water from the city, are under a boil order until further notice.
The Vicksburg Post reports (http://bit.ly/1NBDqYV) an electrical short in an elevator caused a power outage that shut down the city's water treatment plant for about three hours Tuesday.
Public Works Director Garnet Van Norman said customers should vigorously boil drinking and cooking water for at least two minutes before using it or find an alternate source of water.
The short "blew the main electrical system to the plant," he said. "We're trying to find out what caused it."
It's the second time in three years an outage has shut down the water plant. In 2013, a transformer blew, putting the same systems under a boil order for four days.
Van Norman said city officials have notified the Mississippi Department of Health and the boil water notice will be lifted once tests come back negative.
Warren County Emergency Manager John Elfer said the outage highlights the need for a well-stocked emergency preparedness kit.
"You never know when you're going to have infrastructure that's interrupted. You need a kit with good food and water for about three days. This is a good example. It might not be a storm. Yesterday was an electrical outage," Elfer said.
Locally, restaurants and schools were taking precautions.
Vicksburg Warren School District Superintendent Chad Shealey said maintenance workers covered water fountains in the affected schools, and bottled water was also delivered.
"We had cases of bottled water delivered to the schools and we checked with cafeteria managers to make sure we had enough food for three days that could be cooked without using water," Shealey said. "We're keeping up with the situation and waiting to hear when the boil water notice is lifted.
Highway 61 Coffee Shop owner Daniel Boone said he was closed, adding, "It's having a profound effect on me. I hope it's not too long."
Boone said there were other ways he could make coffee, "but it is very complicated to do it and stay within (health department) regulations."
Information from: The Vicksburg Post, http://www.vicksburgpost.com