JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Public Works Director Charles Williams said the city could have water fully restored to customers across the city by the end of the week.
Last week, a winter storm ripped across the state, causing the equipment at the city’s water treatment systems to freeze up.
Water production ground to a halt, the city’s tanks ran dry and water pressure dried up for thousands of residents.
Monday, the Jackson City Council held an emergency meeting to discuss the situation. The council approved a local emergency declaration to free up the city to better deal with the problem.
The meeting was called as thousands of customers across the city are experiencing little to no water pressure after equipment at the O.B. Water Treatment Plant plant quit producing water and as production at the J. H. Fewell Plant had temporarily to be scaled back.
How quickly water will be restored will be determined by how soon water pressure can be increased in the city’s water distribution system.
Monday morning, many customers were still without water but Williams said water pressure is quickly going up.
“As of today, we are at 67 PSI. We’re dramatically improving the (pressure) in order to get water into the system,” Williams said. “We want to see Fewell get to 80 (PSI) and Curtis to get up to 90.
“We still have a little ways to go ... We hope to get up to 75 PSI today and tomorrow, to around 80 or 85.”
Williams expects pressure to be fully restored by the end of the week.
“We’re doing everything we can to get it (restored) quicker than that,” he said.
Williams told council members that some customers closest to the plants, such as residents in North Jackson, would see water restored first. “If we can get to over 70 and 75, and more water is pushing through the system ... some recovery will start happening.”
Once the pressure is restored, he the city will look at putting a plan in place to limit the impacts of cold weather on the plants in the future.
“This is going to happen again. We’re going to need to be prepared next time,” Williams explained.
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said steps already are being taken to better protect the Curtis plant from cold weather, and has spent $3 million to purchase a shelter for the “membrane,” the equipment that treats the water.
“That has already been done,” the mayor said. “We were waiting on construction, but the weather came through before that happened.”
Despite progress, many residents across Jackson are still without water.
Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes asked the city to bring a tanker to his ward to provide residents with the potable water needed to flush toilets.
“People are sitting here with no hope and giving up,” he said.
Director of Constituent Services Keyshia Sanders said a tanker would be taken to his ward.
Ward Four Councilman De’Keither Stamps and Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote said the city needed to reach out to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and to National Guard to get additional resources brought into the city.