Jackson restaurants struggle during boil water notices

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 9:55 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Restaurant owners said they are paying an expensive price tag during boil water notices and are having to adjust how they operate.

Water is essential, but it’s even more necessary for Jackson restaurants trying to prepare food and drinks to hungry customers. But what do restaurants do when their city is often under boil water notices?

“It always makes service a little bit more difficult. It adds steps to service for us,” Managing Partner of The Manship, Steven O’Neil said.

After the state imposed yet another city-wide boil water notice for surface water customers Friday in the city of Jackson and Byram, restaurants said they have had to adjust how they do business.

“As soon as the boil water issue came live, I called Brown Bottling Friday evening. Saturday morning, they had a crew come in that normally doesn’t work on a Saturday loaded up product at the warehouse and delivered it to both of our restaurants,” O’Neil explained.

The state issued the alert due to higher than normal turbidity levels in the water, which increases the chance for disease-causing organisms.

While the owners of one North Jackson restaurant said they’ve purchased a large water filter system because the alert happens often, others are having to pay for cases of bottled water, which add up.

“It’s a pretty significant cost increase. I’d say every boil water notice we have costs us in the probably thousand dollars. Between $1,000 and $2,500 because you have extra labor hours in boiling water to make your water soap dishes and things like that. You have your extra product costs getting bottled water, bottled tea, sodas, things like that‚” O’Neil said.

However, O’Neil said he doesn’t want to leave Jackson despite the boil water notices. Instead, he wants to be part of the solution.

“We would rather be a part of the solution than part of the problem itself, and leaving not only hurts the tax base, you’re also just not going to solve the problems from the outside,” O’Neil explained.

Either way, business owners agree it’s extra work and money they wish they didn’t have to spend.

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