Mississippi boil water notices issued after e. coli bacteria found. Grocery stores, restaurants halting some services.

Published 1:09 pm Friday, December 8, 2023

A boil-water notice for two Mississippi communities is having far-reaching effects.

The Mississippi Department of Health has issued boil water notices for customers in Lafayette County and Franklin County after water samples indicated the presence of E. coli bacteria.

The boil water notices affect the City of Oxford water supply and customers of the Sixtown Water Association water supply located in Franklin County.

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Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will inactivate all major types of harmful bacteria, according to the MSDH website.

For residents in Oxford, one of the state’s fastest-growing areas, the notice by the Mississippi Department of Health is also severely impacting local businesses and services.

With approximately 14,650 customers in Lafayette County advised to boil water due to contamination, grocery stores like Kroger have halted sales of fresh produce, and closures have been reported in bakery and meat departments due to the water issue.

State health officials have extended the advisory to include soda fountains and ice machines, recommending that any products made with tap water should not be consumed.

This has led to a temporary shutdown of several food service establishments, including Chick-fil-A, Starbucks and Highpoint Coffee, as they comply with safety directives.

Mississippi State Department of Health recommends using bottled or cooled-down boiled water for use with pets at this time.

Residents and businesses are bracing for continued impact until the water system is declared safe for use, which Oxford Utilities anticipates by Dec. 9.

From the Mississippi Department of Health:

Checklist for Safe Water Use

  • Do not drink tap water while the water system is under a boil water advisory.
  • Do not drink from water fountains in parks, public or private buildings that receive water from the affected system.
  • Do not use ice unless it has been made with boiled water. Freezing will not necessarily kill harmful bacteria.
  • Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.


  • Wash your dishes in boiled water or use paper plates for the next few days.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with boiled or bottled water since they may have been exposed to affected water from
  • grocery store sprayers.
  • Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.
  • Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
  • Cook with tap water if the food will be boiled for at least one minute.


  • Properly chlorinated water in swimming pools is safe.
  • Fish in aquariums are not affected.