For the past several months Shaw has been under a boil water notice but according to Public Works Manager Keith Thomas, his department has been making tremendous progress.
"The well has been repaired and we have been out all week making other repairs. I have even had volunteers come out and render assistance. We have repaired several lines over the past few weeks," said Thomas.
Thomas said he has been communicating with engineers and he is currently seeking assistance with receiving a grant that will be used to help improve the sewer system and lagoon.
"Water samples were taken last week by the Mississippi Department of Health but I have not received any information yet; therefore, we are still under a boil water notice. We plan to fix about four major leaks on next week. We are currently in the process of moving forward and we have made some wonderful progress," added Thomas.
"We are trying to make sure that everything is up and running. We want to ensure that our citizens have safe drinking water," he added.
Thomas said this infrastructure project has been a long time in the making and he has received a large amount of help.
"People have been volunteering and supplying materials. We have also been receiving county assistance and assistance from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. Hopefully, by the end of the month, we will be back on line," said Thomas.
According to Thomas the poor water and sewer infrastructure is due to outdated pipes.
"A lot of the pipes that we have are old and in 1973 or '74 the use of lead pipes was banned but if the pipes were already in the ground they would continue to use them. Although pipes were being used, the waster was tested frequently. Our pipes are made of cast-iron and other materials," he added.
Thomas said in 2013, County Engineer Bob Eley estimated that it would take between $4 and $5 million to repair the entire system – this was only for water and sewer.
"It is very important to keep waste water and sewer infrastructure maintained because the city is a business. We receive funding from people who purchase water. We have to dispose of their wastewater. It is highly essential to have an adequate and clean water supply because we want our customers to be satisfied," continued Thomas.
"In a lot of old residential areas, I have seen water and sewer lines running side by side but this is dangerous because if your water line breaks and your sewer line has a hole in it then this could cause water contamination," he added.
Thomas said his department works diligently to ensure that the water is safe for drinking and in the last few months, he has been receiving support from the citizens of Shaw.
"We are also working to clean up our city. This is our community and we are going to take care of it. The most important aspect about the entire situation is the fact that the community is coming together to fix this issue," said Thomas.
"People are starting to realize that you cannot always rely on the government for assistance," he added.