Hancock County

Waveland and Bay St. Louis issue boil water notices after hard freeze

A hard freeze that hit the Mississippi Coast starting new year’s night froze a control panel at a Waveland water tower, causing low water pressure early Tuesday. Here, ice covers a plant at Beau View condominiums in Biloxi on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018.
A hard freeze that hit the Mississippi Coast starting new year’s night froze a control panel at a Waveland water tower, causing low water pressure early Tuesday. Here, ice covers a plant at Beau View condominiums in Biloxi on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com

Two cities in Hancock County are under a boil water notice Tuesday after after below-freezing temperatures left a hard freeze overnight.

Waveland’s 2,200 water customers found themselves with low water pressure early Tuesday after a hard freeze caused a control panel to freeze.

Public Works employees defrosted the panel and have taken other precautions they hope will prevent it from happening again, Director Brent Anderson said.

The water system was offline about 30 to 40 minutes, he said.

Anderson issued a boil water notice, a requirement of the Mississippi Department of Health, pending tests on water samples. The boil water notice may be lifted Wednesday, Anderson said.

The problem occurred sometime between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. as temperatures dropped into the 20s and the wind chill factor dropped into the single digits.

The control panel is on the ground under a 110-foot tower.

“When the panel froze, it failed to talk to the well watch — it talks by internet,” Anderson said.

“The panel talks to the wells and tells them to turn the water on if the water’s getting low. It froze, so the system wasn’t aware the wells needed to turn on.”

Public Works is flushing the water lines while samples are being taken and tested.

Bay St. Louis experienced low water pressure Tuesday morning, and the city announced a boil water notice “until further notice,” according to a press release from the city. The boil water notice does not apply to residents who live in Ward 5 or Ward 6, as they are customers of the Hancock County water system, according to the Sea Coast Echo.

“In South Mississippi, we’re not used to four or five days of freezing weather,” Anderson said.

“We had our standard precautions going but they were not enough to sustain this kind of weather. We’re putting some extra measures into place to try to prevent it from happening again.”

Robin Fitzgerald: 228-896-2307, @robincrimenews

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