Algae causes boil water order for almost 3,600 water customers

Almost 3,600 customers in the Crittenden-Livingston County Water District can’t drink their tap water without boiling it first. A boil water advisory was put in place over the weekend after algae was found in water that had already been filtered at the plant. 

Simply Southern owner Trish Atchison has not had an easy start to her week.

"It makes it really hard on a café, because you can’t use your ice machines, your coffee makers, your tea machines, your fountain drinks, or none of that," Atchison said.

A boil water advisory causes more work for Atchison and less of a profit, because she, like many others in the area, is having to buy bottled water and drinks.

"We’ve never had this issue before, so we weren’t really ready for it," Atchison said.

Crittenden-Livingston County Water District Superintendent Ronnie Slayden says all the district’s water comes from the Cumberland River. Saturday night, he discovered the river was carrying too much algae into the plant for the filters to clean.

"That’s our source water. That’s where we got our water at, and we’ve got to have it,"Slayden said.

"The pumps that carry the water into the facility are at the bottoms of the river. So, when river waters are low and it’s not flowing fast, algae was going straight into them," Slayden said.

Slayden says Barkley Dam let more water into the river, which helped the issue. State workers are also pouring a chemical into the Cumberland River to kill the algae.

"We’re doing all we can to get this thing straightened out," Slayden said.

At this point, he’s still working with the state to get to the root of the algae problem. 

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