Natchez water is safe to drink

Published 12:34 am Friday, July 13, 2007

NATCHEZ — Some city water customers might not find their water crystal clear in coming days, but officials said it’s safe to drink, even if it isn’t pretty.

Every five years, the state fire marshal requires the city fire department to flush fire hydrants, Natchez Fire Department Chief Paul Johnson said.

That sometimes breaks loose minerals that line the pipes, Water Plant Manager Lance Webb said. That can lead to off-color water.

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“The water is safe to drink,” Webb said. “Iron is pretty much what it is (that colors the water). The chlorine’s good — we just took samples.

“It’s just that when most humans see ‘dirty’ water, they’re not going to drink it. It is safe to drink, but most people probably won’t want to.”

Webb suggested residents who see color in their water hold off doing chores like washing clothes.

He also suggested they not use hot water because the color would get into the hot water tank and take longer to flush out.

After the hydrant is flushed, it takes a little while for the water to get through the pipes and run clear, he said.

The fire department is testing hydrants in different areas of the city each day, Johnson said.

“We started a month or so ago,” Johnson said. “We’ll keep going until we check every plug in the city. It’ll be a couple weeks, anyway.”

They also take readings of the hydrants to make sure the water pressure would be strong enough to put out any fires.

“A little ‘dirty’ water every now and then is a small price to pay for (safety),” Johnson said.

Johnson could not provide information about which city streets will be affected on which days.