A major water line repair could mean major impacts to restaurants in the capital city.
On Tuesday, the city of Jackson announced it would shut down a 48-inch water main in order to repair three breaks. That means half to two-thirds of the city could be without water during the repairs, and the rest of the city could see low pressure.
People began flocking to stores to buy bottled water, but for restaurants – it’s not that simple. They’re preparing for the worst.
“It’s scary, there’s nobody to get mad at, it’s just reality. It’s where we stand after decades of disinvestment and not maintaining,” said restaurant owner Jeff Good. He’s no stranger to water loss at two of his establishments, Broadstreet Bakery & Cafe and Sal & Mookies.
Good said it simply: “If your business relies on water to operate, you’ll be closed.”
The health department requires businesses that serve food to have water in order to operate. If water is shut off, business is shut down.
Mayor Tony Yarber said they don’t expect repairs to last longer than 36 hours. (The original time frame was 48 to 72 hours.) If repairs take longer, it could be expensive for businesses.
No water triggers a series of events for restaurants. At Broadstreet, for example, a two day close is manageable with minimal waste. More than that, they have to toss out all of their inventory.
And the cost to rebuild that inventory is steep.
“There is an amount of effort to be able to put all the food products together to be able to get restarted,” said Good. “Our bakery, you have to bake 12 to 18 hours ahead of time. You have to make dough and let it rise, for example.”
The water main in question doesn’t have a backup system, so that means repairs force a complete water shutdown.
“When it was installed I’m sure it was way too expensive and made no sense to have dual lines. Who would have thought it would fail?” said Good.
But even when the breaks are fixed, you can expect boil water notices for at least 48 more hours..
Mayor Yarber recommended everyone stock up on water, fill your bathtubs, and be prepared to boil water. He also suggests the use of their 311- Code Red system that you can register for on the City of Jackson website.