Water still not safe to drink in Germantown after diesel fuel found in water supply

Published: Jul. 21, 2023 at 6:41 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 21, 2023 at 8:42 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Day two of no tap water in Germantown.

Friday afternoon, city officials were testing the water as residents were hoping for an all-clear.

City officials say diesel fuel from a generator leaked into the underground reservoir during power outages this week.

Germantown city leaders were distributing bottled water at Forest Hill Elementary School.

The water woes come as the City of Germantown also deals with damage from high wind gusts and power outages from the storm.

88-year-old Germantown resident Thane Smith says a huge tree came down shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday. ”We had a little lightning, a little rain, and some wind but not a lot. I didn’t know the tree was down until later and it had come down,” said Smith.

Smith says he lost power for about 24 hours, but it was the announcement Thursday evening that caught him off guard.

His water was no longer safe to use after city officials started fielding several calls from residents about the foul smell coming from their faucets. “They said it smelled sort of like fuel, or kerosene or some said gasoline type smells,” said Germantown Director of Public Works Bo Mills on Thursday.

Tests confirmed diesel fuel from a generator leaked into the reservoir.

City leaders don’t think it’s a health risk, but out of an abundance of caution warned residents to only use bottled water until given the all clear.

We checked the Kroger on Poplar and Farmington, both were fully stocked with pallets of water on Friday.

While Germantown municipal water crews test the water and MLGW crews work to get power back on for residents another round of storms came through the suburban city Friday afternoon.

Smith says in the 20 years he’s lived in his home he’s never seen so many storms back to back.

”I think it’s the new normal. I think we better get used to it,” said Smith.

Residents who get their water from Germantown municipal water, not MLGW, should only use the water to flush the toilet.

In an update, the City of Germantown notified the public that water restrictions will remain through Saturday.

Water Giveaway

Also Saturday, bottled water will be available at Forest Hill Elementary School, located at 3368 Forest Hill Road, between 9 a.m. and noon.

Residents can also bring their own containers and fill them with an unlimited supply of water at Bailey Station Elementary School, located at 3435 Bailey Station Road, from 9 a.m. to noon.

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