Murray Water System: Boil Water Order Lifted For All Customers

Oct 28, 2017

Tom Kutcher details water issues at City Council meeting Thursday night.
Credit Matt Markgraf, WKMS

Saturday Afternoon: The Division of Water has notified the Murray Water System that the boil water order has been lifted, effective immediately, for all customers in the System, including districts and customers of South 641 (Hazel), District 2 and Dexter/Almo Heights.

This is according to a release from the City of Murray sent at 12:15 p.m. 

All lab test results came back negative. The lab had conducted a total coliform bacteria test. 

Customers can now use water from the public water system. Restaurants and health care facilities should follow specific recommendations from the Calloway Co. Health Department.

Friday Late Afternoon: A Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection official said water judgments following a water main break in Murray are currently ‘aesthetic,’ meaning “it doesn’t look right.”

Executive Staff Advisor Lanny Brannock said water samples are being collected through the system and sent to a lab for an 18 hour test. Brannock said if the samples come back regular, the boil water advisory should be lifted Saturday afternoon.

“There was a water main break at the plant and so when that kind of break happens you need to boil your water and for twenty-four hours after that main break was fixed the boil water advisory is going to need to stay in place," Brannock said.


Brannock said the boil water advisory was enacted out of caution. The City of Murray said in a press release that they do not expect water sample results until after 1 p.m.


Friday Afternoon: The City of Murray says the water conservation request has been lifted, though the boil order continues. A new release outlined the incidents (described below). An update describes current work: 

Contractors began working on repairs to the main line at 11 p.m. Thursday night. Those repairs were completed around 11 a.m. Friday morning. The Division of Water will authorize samples to be collected throughout the system. The tests take 18 hours. The DOW will review results before determining whether to lift the boil water order. 

Continue to follow safe procedures for drinking water. Use caution when handling the water in any consumption capacity and refer to the CDC guidelines linked in "Calloway Co. Health Dept." below. Showering is OK.

Friday Morning: The boil water order continues in Murray on Friday. The Murray Water System is advising customers to conserve water over the next couple of hours. This is so crews can continue to repair a 30-inch penetration of the main water line (see incident details below). The repairs are taking longer than had been anticipated. 

This issue is affecting all Murray Water System customers, including South 641 (Hazel), District 2 and Dexter/Almo Heights.

Calloway County Health Dept: Public Health Director Amy Ferguson said in a release to refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fact sheet for guidance on how to follow safe water and food procedures during advisories. Here is the link to the word document. Continue to boil water for: drinking, making ice cubes, washing food, brushing teeth or any other consumption. Water should be brought to a full boil for five minutes. They caution for avoiding contact with eyes, mouth and open wounds.

City Council Meeting: Director of Public Works and Utilities Tom Kutcher briefed the City Council Thursday evening regarding the incident (as described below). 

He said the water issue is mainly "aesthetics" as in higher amounts of iron, pending  verification from sampling tests. He said the boil order was recommended by the state to "play it safe." He said washing hands, showering, doing laundry are fine - and the order is for drinking water. Restaurants, with higher safety standards, should use hand sanitizer.

He said contractors hammering pilings at the Drinking Water Plant caused a disturbance. Checks occurred throughout the night Wednesday. Initially, the increased turbidity was only in the surrounding area. Chlorine tests checked out (meaning there wasn't a change in chlorine levels that would have been due to a contaminate). Lab test samples were sent to Paducah - these tests take around 18 hours.

The second incident was later discovered, which was a puncture of a main water line from the filter building to the clear well, due to the construction. A repair will get underway Thursday night. Samples from this incident will be sent for testing following repairs. A recommended recovery plan from the state involves a more involved cleaning of the existing clear well. 

City officials said boil order lift messaging will go out via social media, media outlets and direct contacts, similar to the Thursday announcements. Kutcher said he had received 'thousands' of phone calls on Thursday.

Schools Update: Murray Independent Schools and Calloway County Schools are closed Friday due to the water boil order. Murray State University is scheduled to be open.

Update: The City of Murray has issued a release detailing the incident that led to a water boil order.

The City says Murray Water System detected an increased turbidity reading Thursday morning.

Following consultation with the Kentucky Division of Water, a boil order was issued until results from the sample test are returned from the lab. This is expected Friday evening or Saturday morning.

The System says the turbidity issue is believed to be the result of two incidents on Wednesday afternoon. The first was from a vibration near the clear well and the second was a penetration of a 30-inch water main. Both of these incidents occurred while contractors were constructing system upgrades near the Water Plant. 

The boil order remains in effect.

WKMS News had attempted, unsuccessfully, to reach city officials numerous times throughout the day for information.


A boil water order is in effect for all Murray Water Systems customers in response to a turbidity spike at a city plant on Thursday.

Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection Executive Staff Advisor Lanny Brannock said construction at a city plant caused the uptick in turbidity.

“They were driving foundation pilings for a new clear well and they hit rock and shook the plant so hard it stirred up sediment in the clearwell," Brannock said.

Brannock said water with high turbidity is not up to quality standards. He said the order applies to more than 27,000 people, including customers of South 641 in Hazel, District 2 and Dexter/Almo Heights.

Brannock said people will have to boil water for at least 24 hours and said the department will alert customers if the order needs to be extended.

All drinking water must be brought to a full boil for at least five minutes to ensure safe consumption.

This story has been updated.