There’s water, water everywhere in Gulfport. But a fluke at a water main during a construction project Tuesday caused an unexpected water outage resulting in a boil-water notice for residents along a four-mile stretch of U.S. 49.
A main valve at a construction site on Duckworth Road was inadvertently turned off instead of a “local area” valve.
It affected water service for residents east of the major corridor from Duckworth north to the Grand Bear Golf Course in Saucier.
“It’s certainly unusual, and we apologize for any inconveniences,” Public Works Assistant Director Mark Kraninger said.
“Workers on a construction project secured the line for a contract to do a tie-in for a subdivision, called a go-down, moving some pipes,” Kraninger said. “When we secured the water—isolated the valves for that area—it inadvertently affected the areas north of that and for another construction project.”
It happened at a time when the city is tying in a new water line in anticipation of the widening of U.S. 49, he said.
What to do under a boil-water notice
Residents affected may have noticed the problem by a lack of water pressure. The areas under a boil-water notice now include South Swan, Hatten Farms and South Fork subdivisions and beyond School Road to the Grand Bear Golf Course.
As a precaution, a boil-water notice advises customers to boil their water for one minute and allow it to cool before drinking it or giving it to pets as a safety precaution. But it’s considered safe for bathing and washing dishes.
Contractors typically give Public Works notice of the need for a water outage five business days in advance, Kraninger said.
“They’re to give us the date, area and subdivisions to be affected, if they know it,” he said. “If they don’t know what areas will be affected, our guys figure it out.”
A water outage requested by the contractor initially included the Duckworth area including the Tara Hill Drive, Wind Rose Circle and Twin Drive areas.
An update on Tuesday notified city water customers farther north.
The water outage was expected to last until 6 p.m. Tuesday, but Kraninger said it appeared to be completed around noon.
Alerts available by phone, email
A boil-water notice is in effect until further notice.
Once an outage occurs, water-well supervisors go out and get water samples and take them to the state Health Department, Kraninger said.
“We have to do two samples before releasing that boil water notice,” he said.
“Our water is good and clean. We’ve never had a sample come back with bacteria. After Hurricane Katrina was the exception.”
The quality of the water has not been an issue since then, but sometimes a sample may be contaminated by the tester or the lab, requiring another sample to be taken.
The city’s website has a public notice page that announce water outages and boil-water notices and when the notices are lifted.
That page also allows customers to click on “emergency sign-up notification” to get alerts by text, phone call or email.
“I would very much encourage customers to sign up for the notifications,” Kraninger said.