TUNICA, MS (abc24.com) - “Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.” That old saying described the plight of more than 700 customers of the KWP water system in Tunica for the past several weeks.
It certainly has been disruptive; those customers were under a boil order until a piece of disinfecting equipment known as a chlorinator could be repaired.
As of Tuesday January 17, 2012, it was finally fixed and the boil order was lifted.
“I’m satisfied that they are saying it's clean,” KWP customer Joann Fryson told abc24.com, “but I just can’t jump right in there drinking it again. It’ll take me awhile to get comfortable with this.”
Fryson has been outspoken the last few weeks, concerning the boil order affecting 700 customers of the KWP water system in Tunica.
It was virtually a month since she was able to drink water from her faucet.
“It is a very long time,” said Fryson. “Until you are put in this position to experience it yourself, you just don’t know.”
KWP’s water supply lies behind a large burm in Tunica and access is barred by a locked fence.
Melissa Parker, Mississippi’s Deputy Director of Public Water, said KWP did all the right things.
“When they realized that they had problems with their disinfection system, they immediately contacted us,” Parker said. “This is a textbook case of a water association doing what they needed to do to protect their public.”
Despite that, Fryson is being cautious.
“I hope this causes them to be more careful with their process,” Fryson said.
After seeing Fryson appear on an abc24 newscast, someone from KWP visited Joann in her home and customer refunds were discussed.
“He said they were working on that,” said Fryson.
There may have to be some paybacks for local businesses. A convenience store near Harrah’s Casino lost half its daytime sales.
“We can’t sell our fountain drinks, we can’t make ice,” said convenience store manages Katie Kitchens. “We can’t make coffee. I’m just losing money; people are walking out the door.”
That store was hoping to be back to full service by 7:00 p.m. the night the boil order was lifted.
Parker said KWP faces no fines or punitive actions. She also said that to start a water system in Mississippi, the health department, the public service commission and the EPA all have requirements that have to be satisfied.