The alert was issued July 8, keeping residents at bay as they wait for positive test results and clearance from the MSDH.
A brake in a main water line was the cause of alert. Anytime a system wide pressure loss occurs due to one or more line breaks, the MSDH requires the public announcement.
The alert affects approximately 1,932 customers in the area who receive their drinking water from the supply located in town.
Because it was an emergency break, the northern portion of Shaw was completely without water for about six hours. The southern part of Shaw also lost water for about two hours.
"We apologize to the citizens for the inconvenience," said Thomas. "However, we are required to follow state regulations.
"This is a case where it's better safe than sorry."
Thomas said Shaw's water operator had been ill recently, delaying the water test sample process and extending the alert.
"We had samples sent last week after the repairs were made and I think everything should be clear by the end of the week."
The system has struggled with its aging water lines for years. Some of the pipes are more than 50 years old, leading to a number of recent breaks.
Thomas suspects that seasonal ground shifts and heavy truck traffic were causes of the break earlier this month.
"We had a problem with the same area about six months ago," said Thomas. "Hopefully these repairs will fix everything for at least the next 10 years. This should benefit the town as a whole."
"In the future, we will try and notify citizens 24 hours in advance if we plan to shut the water down," added Thomas. "Unfortunately, sometimes it's an emergency situation and we're unable to do that."
Thomas also thanked Bolivar County for assisting with the construction by providing a backhoe.
When a distribution system loses pressure, contaminants can siphon back into the water. Public health officials consider any system that loses pressure contaminated until tests prove otherwise.
While under alert, health officials strongly recommend that all water be boiled vigorously for one minute before it is consumed.
MSDH provides a checklist for Safe Water Use:
DO NOT: *Do not drink tap water while the water system is under a boil water advisory. *Do not drink from water fountains in parks, public or private buildings that receive water from the affected system. *Do not use ice unless it has been made with boiled water. Freezing will not necessarily kill harmful bacteria. *Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.
DO: *Wash your dishes in boiled water, or use paper plates for the next few days. *Wash your fruits and vegetables with boiled or bottled water since they may have been exposed to affected water from grocery store sprayers. *Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed. *Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water. *Cook with tap water if the food will be boiled for at least one minute.
Properly chlorinated water in swimming pools is safe. Fish in aquariums are not affected.
Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will inactivate all major types of harmful bacteria.
Once the boil-water notice is lifted: Flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing.
Example: 1 faucet — run for 10 minutes, 2 faucets — run both for 5 minutes, 3 faucets — run each for 3-4 minutes.
Flush any faucet a minimum of two minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.
Discard any drinks, ice, food, etc., made during the boil water notice. Rewash any food or drink contact items (knives, forks, plates, etc.) with "cleared" system water.
Check water filters (in faucets, refrigerators and elsewhere) and replace if necessary.
Do not use water from your hot water heater for drinking until several exchanges of the tank have occurred. Run dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing dishes.
Visit www.msdh.ms.gov for more details.