Businesses Try to Recover from Broken Water Main

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

Water was restored to the Bonita Lakes area of Meridian late Wednesday afternoon, several hours after the line was accidentally broken.

But a boil water notice is still in effect for the entire area. That is causing major problems for businesses there that rely on water coming through the pipes.

"It has been a pretty rough two days. It has been challenging," said Michael Naler, manager of McAlister's at Bonita.

That's because restaurants have had to take special measures to make sure their customers stay healthy during this water nightmare.

"Everything in my kitchen. All my steamers, they run off water, so they were microwaving stuff yesterday and it was a challenge," Naler said.

Wednesday was definitely the toughest day for the staff at McAlister's as there was no water. But now with water restored, even though it's operating under a boil water notice, things have gotten easier. It means they no longer have to go back and forth to the North Hills location for the tea and lemonade.

"It's a health concern. Anything we have to do to make the food safe, I understand. It's just part of dealing with the public," said Naler.

And that's exactly what representatives of the Mississippi Department of Health want to hear. They have been on the street working hand and hand with the restaurants to make sure they understand the dangers associated with this type of leak.

"You don't want to get those bacteria that may come in from the ground or sewage system into the water line," said district health officer, Dr. Rebecca James. "Having vomiting or diarrhea or some of those things you can get from the water is miserable. But for some people it is very serious because their immune systems aren't as strong. They may be older. They may be pregnant."

Back at McAlister's, Naler says he's learned a lot from the experience, but hopes to never go through it again.

The boil water notice applies to Meridian water customers in the Bonita area south of Interstate 20/59, east of Virginia Drive, west of Lake Drive, and north of the back side of the mall. If you are a customer in those areas, you need to boil your water for a minute before using.

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