Citywide boil water notice causing some difficulties for Ocean Springs businesses

OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) – A boil water notice for the entire city of Ocean Springs remains in effect as of Thursday morning.

The alert was issued by the Mississippi Department of Health on Wednesday after water tests detected the presence of E. coli bacteria in at least one of the collected samples.

In addition to impacting residents, the boil water notice is also causing difficulties for restaurants and other businesses in the city, many of which are already struggling to stay fully open due to staffing issues.

“It takes an already stressful situation and makes it a lot tougher,” said one restaurant manager in downtown Ocean Springs.

”Making dough, we need 14 quarts of water. So by the time you boil it down, you need a big pot, you know,” said Kirk Tarver, the manager at Tom’s Extreme Pizzeria.

Due to the length of time it takes to boil the water, many businesses are shelling out money to buy bottled water instead.

”It’s really a lot. Luckily, we have a convenience store right here so we can get bottled water and ice, all that stuff conveniently,” said Tarver.

Restaurants will likely have to keep up these efforts through Friday morning. The boil notice stems from a batch of 21 different water samples collected by a third party company. One of those sample showed signs of the E. coli bacteria. Tests done by the city, however, all came back clean.

Officials say this was the first time a third-party was used to take water samples, and it will likely by the last time. Mayor Shea Dobson believes the one contaminated test was an operator error.

“I don’t believe this will be an issue,” said said Dobson.

The city has since collected close to 40 samples from across the city. Those results are expected to be back within 48 hours.

“It’s a huge precaution to make sure everything okay,” said Gerald Groue, the city’s state-certified water system operator.

Groue has done several tests personally since the single contaminated test came back. He said his tests have shown good chlorine residual levels, which he stressed is significant because chlorine is what kills the bacteria.

While some residents are frustrated by the notice, a few are not concerned at all.

”If that is the worst thing we have to deal with in Ocean Springs… People not obeying the 25 mile an hour speed limit in town bother me a lot more than the boil water notice,” said resident Dee Frances Wichman.

Any resident or business who receives water from the City of Ocean Springs’ water supply is asked to boil all water vigorously for one minute before consuming it. The boil water notice is expected to last for at least two full days, stated the city.

Additional water tests have been submitted by Public Works and those results are expected to be back within 48 hours, said the city’s announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

For a full list of the “Do’s and Don’ts” regarding boiling your water click here.

Copyright 2021 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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