The city of Germantown said water samples tested Tuesday were free of contamination, but the emergency order remains in place until the water system is flushed.
Mayor Mike Palazzolo announced Tuesday that the source of the contamination has been located and that the city has received permission from the state to move forward with a controlled flushing program.
Despite the good news, City Administrator Jason Huisman made it clear that the emergency order to use the water only for flushing toilets will remain in place until the entire water distribution system is flushed and cleaned with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
Public Works Director Bo Mills explained the reason for the pollution. He said that in the last 24 hours, additional contamination was found in the soil around the pipe carrying clean water from the Southern Avenue water treatment plant to the reservoir. Due to a crack in the pipe, diesel fuel present in the soil entered the reservoir.
Mills said the pipe was repaired, the contaminated soil removed, and the generator inspected by outside contractors to make sure there were no problems.
Crews from Public Works and the Germantown Fire Department are working to clear the city’s main water sources. This process started on Tuesday afternoon.
“The process began this afternoon in areas closest to the Southern Avenue Water Plant and will work further away from the city until all of this contaminant has been cleaned up in our waterways from across the city,” said assistant city administrator Andy Sanders.
Once flushing is complete, the city will test water samples to ensure that the contaminants have been removed. The test will take around 6-8 hours
The city said they will notify residents immediately when they can begin flushing and will take a phased approach to turning the water back on.