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Boil advisory lifted for Jellico water customers

The Jellico Electric and Water System says most of its customers except for the Elk Valley community are no longer under a boil advisory.

UPDATE (February 21 at 3:45 p.m.)

Jellico Electric and Water System has lifted a boil advisory for all residents.

Joe Carroll, GM of Jellico Electric, said that they are working to create a better system for informing their customers in incidents like this one. To make that work, they need valid phone numbers from all customers. They plan to request that in the next round of bills and on their Facebook page

Carroll said they hope to that system working next month. They also plan to use their Facebook page more to communicate with customers.

UPDATE (February 21 at 5:00 a.m.)

Jellico Electric and Water System has lifted a boil advisory for most of the Jellico area after restoring water services.

The utility group said the boil advisory is over for residents within Jellico city limits. A boil advisory remains in effect for customers living outside the city in the Elk Valley community.

UPDATE (February 20 at 9:10 a.m.)

Jellico Electric and Water System said water has been completely restored across the area, but the boil advisory continues.

The utility group said bottled water will be delivered today a noon at the Rescue Squad Facility in Jellico and at Elk Valley Elementary School for residents affected by the long-term outage.

People can still use their water for washing hands and showering, but any drinking water from the tap will need to be boiled for at least one to three full minutes before consumed.

UPDATE (February 19 at 7:45 a.m.)

Jellico Electric and Water System said all its customers living in Jellico city limits now have water running again.

The utility group said the boil advisory will continue until further notice, and it is still working to get water restored to remaining customers outside the city limits in the Elk Valley community.

Once water is fully restored to all customers, it said it will flush the lines to get rid of any sediment and it will lift the boil advisory after. It said water pressure might continue to be on the low side until they can finish restoring water to all.

UPDATE (February 18 at 7:45 p.m.)

Joe Carroll with the Jellico Electric and Water System says water has been restored to about 1,200 of the 1,700 customers in the city of Jellico Sunday evening.

Three of four tanks were filled completely with water, Carroll said. The rest of the city of Jellico is expected to have water be back on by 11 p.m. The one last tank at the Jellico Electric and Water System is still being filled and will be the last to provide water to the rest of its service area. That'll be specifically for those additional 500 customers in the Elk Valley region.

Carroll says workers have been taking precautionary measures as pressure has built up in the pipes, and so letting water into the pipes could cause higher pressure, bursting a water line. Workers are avoiding this as it would delay water restoration.

Employees with Jellico Electric and Water System have been working around the clock to help restore water to all customers. Carroll says crews from the electric companies and other utilities assisted the employees, working more than 18, with breaks.

Carroll said he appreciates the patience of residents in Jellico as employees worked to fix this issue. The boil advisory will be lifted Monday morning. It was only a precautionary measure as water pressure was very low.

Most businesses in Jellico now have water, including the hospital.

Carroll said the Subway in Jellico closed Sunday because there was no water. However, the Subway provided sandwiches to employees with Jellico Electric and Water System and folks at a local nursing home.

Carroll said he is thankful there was a back-up pump part for the well. He mentioned if they did not have that part for the well, restoring water to Jellico residents would have taken up to a week.

UPDATE (February 18 at 4:30 p.m.)

The Jellico Electric and Water System says they are working to fill up all four water tanks in the area. One tank is completely full at this time and in service.

Water should be restored to residents in the next two to three hours as the three other tanks get filled with water.

The boil advisory is still in effect as a precaution. General Manager of Jellico Electric and Water System Joe Carroll expects the boil advisory to be lifted on Monday morning.

Carroll also mentioned they will be slowly restoring water as pressure has built up in the water pipes and want to avoid blowing a line which would prolong the water restoration process.

With the boil advisory in place, customers are advised to bring their water to a boil, then let it cool for at least one minute before drinking.

UPDATE (February 18 at 9:11 a.m.)

The Jellico Electric and Water System says they are working to fill up all four water tanks in the area. So far they have one tank completely full. General Manager Joe Carroll says it's a slow process but the situation is progressing.

The boil water advisory is still in place as a precaution. Carroll says they plan to lift the advisory by Monday morning. All of the water currently meets state regulations.

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The Jellico Electric and Water System says customers are currently without drinkable water and a boil advisory is in place.

Campbell County's EMA Director Jay Muncy has requested for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency to step in as a resource as water is needed in Jellico.

General Manager Joe Carroll says due to heavy rain last week, it disturbed sediment in the water that gets pulled and filtered into the plant.

Due to the increased sediment, its system could not keep up with the demand.

The company says it turned to its back-up, a well, because of slow production of the system.

Jellico Electric and Water System then issued a boil advisory to customers through TV and radio outlets.

"I'd like to apologize to our customers," Carroll said.

Then, a well-pump failure occurred.

Crews have replaced the pump motor and it is now functioning properly, but they must get the water to meet state requirements before allowing water to go out.

"We've got our customer service on 24-hour call to hopefully meet any calls or answer any questions from our customers," Carroll said.

The company says it should be able to get water to homes at some point Saturday afternoon. The boil advisory will still be in effect, with hopes of being lifted Monday.

Customers are advised to bring their water to a boil, then let it cool for at least one minute before drinking.

Jellico Subway General Manager Buddy Branham says because of the water shortage, it's been difficult to have the restaurant open.

"I don't think people realize until it's not there--it's a rare commodity," Branham said. "I had to go buy water this morning to fill up a five gallon tea container so I have hot water to wash my hands."

He says he hopes utility workers can get the system back up fast.

"We're probably going to have to close up for the day, because I'll be in a situation where I can't wash dishes to prep more food," Branham said.

Carroll is apologizing to customers affected by the problems and says his team is working around-the-clock to get the issues fixed quickly.

Campbell County EMA Director Jay Muncy says there is no word yet on when the water will test right and will be ready for drinking again.

Muncy said the county is hopeful to have the water system itself working in the next six hours.

TEMA has also been requested to step in and help those who are in need of a clean water supply, according to Muncy.