City and county recover in aftermath of heavy rain storms

Published 3:16 pm Monday, February 25, 2019

After a week that drenched Oxford and Lafayette County with over double-digit inches of rain, the city and county have taken precautionary measures to ensure the city fully recovers.

Most county roads closed by flooding are open, except for few, while the city has fixed all broken water mains and are waiting to retrieve water samples from the Mississippi Health Department to lift the boil order that remains from the weekend.

“When you had 11 inches of rain in 48 hours, there’s so much water everywhere that it’s so difficult,” Mayor Robyn Tannehill said during a recess Board of Aldermen meeting Monday. “We’re looking at creek beds that have, you know, six feet of water.”

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During the recess meeting, Mayor Tannehill said the water samples that were sent to Jackson, to the health department, need a 24-hour incubation period. Until the samples can comeback, the boil order will still be in effect.

Mayor Tannehill also offered her thanks to all the city employees that assisted over the weekend, including the workers that were tasked with finding and sealing the broken water lines.

“It was hard work and it was grueling work,” she said. “It was that probably about 36 hours with no rest for our water and sewer guys.”

The boil order has begun to affect Oxford School District as well. According to OSD spokesperson Heather Lenard, parents with children in the district were notified that all drinking fountains would be closed.

Parents were also instructed to send their child to school with drinking water, however the district was also able to procure bottled water for students and faculty that weren’t able to secure any before the day began.

“We are boiling water as needed, and adjusting our menu to minimize the usage of water. As soon as the boil water notice is lifted,” OSD Nutrition Department Director Dan Westmoreland said in a statement. “OSD Maintenance will begin changing filers and flushing our kitchen equipment immediately.”

While the city is working its way back from the water issues, the county is also working to re-open some of its roads that were closed due to flooding.

According to an emergency release from the Lafayette County Sheriff’s office last week, County Roads 428, 383, 107, 129 and 457 all had water on them, while County Road 100 was closed at the bridge.

Lafayette County Road Manager Joe Bynum said most of the roads that were closed by flooding were either re-opened or would be by the end of the day Monday. County Road 100 was still one of the roads that was still closed around noon Monday.

Bynum said the Lafayette County Road Department was repairing any undermining that occurred due to the flooding, and that the city wouldn’t be taking any other precautions mainly due to the nature of how much it rained.

“You can’t prepare for something like this,” he said.