Water restored after electrical fire shuts down plant, but advisory still in effect

The City’s water system is ’under a state of emergency,’ because on-going issues need to be addressed, the mayor says.

Water restored after electrical fire shuts down plant, but advisory still in effect
A boil water advisory is still in effect for all surface water connections, which is exactly 43,000. (Source: WLBT)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The City of Jackson has fully restored water at the OB Curtis Water Treatment Plant just hours after an electrical fire shut the plant down, but a boil water advisory is still in place.

“Residents should start seeing an improvement in their water pressure by this evening and into the night,” the City said.

The boil water advisory is still in effect for all surface water connections, exactly 43,000 customers.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba and Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams explained the details of the predicament in an afternoon press conference.

In a nutshell, Williams said the lead operator at the OB Curtis Water Treatment Plant heard a noise in the operation room early Friday and quickly realized a small fire had started.

The Ridgeland Fire Department and Jackson Fire Department contained the fire that shut down two high-service pumps.

The City says the fire took place in one control panel, but as a precaution, they had to shut down the entire system and issue a boil water advisory because of the loss in pressure.

Lumumba expects the boil water advisory to lift either Sunday or Monday, but he gave no definite timeline.

The mayor said an investigation is underway into what caused the electrical fire or its underlying problems.

“There are several deficiencies at our plant; that’s the bottom line,” Lumumba admitted. “We will continue to experience these challenges until we have the resources to deal with them.”

“Is the plant perfect? No, and we’ve been out front about the ongoing issues we have,” Dr. Charles Williams added.

Late February, a brutal winter storm busted water pipes crashing the City’s water system like a computer, affected tens of thousands of homes for weeks.

The mayor said it would take a billion dollars to replace the entire system.

State congressional leaders began to find funds to help the City through the Emergency Water Infrastructure Act.

Meanwhile, the City is still waiting for a permanent solution to fix these temporary problems, so the mayor considers the system in a state of emergency.

“When you have aged systems, it’s not a matter of if but when,” Lumumba said. “I do see us under emergency even though residents were able to have their water restored because these issues that need to be addressed have by and large still not been addressed.”

Well water connections are not impacted in this boil water advisory.

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