EPA cites Jackson for failing to repair water plant following April fire
JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson has 45 days to tell the EPA how and when it will repair damage caused by a fire that broke out last April at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.
This week, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of noncompliance to the city for failing to repair or replace a damaged electrical panel at the plant.
In addition to telling EPA when and how repairs will be made, the city also must meet with the federal regulatory agency to “show cause why the EPA should not initiate legal proceedings” against the city as a result.
The notice comes about nine months after a fire broke out at the O.B. Curtis plant, shutting down the plant’s high-service pumps.
During a November 8, 2021 inspection of the facility, “the pumps remained out of service, with no target date by the city to put the pumps back into service,” the letter states. “The loss of the pumps has caused multiple elevated tanks to be low or empty and has caused certain areas of the distribution system to have sustained low water pressure.”
“Low-pressure and loss of pressure in a drinking water distribution system may cause a net movement of water from outside the pipe to the inside through cracks, breaks or joints in the distribution system,” the letter reads.
“Backsiphonage occurs when pressure is lost in pipes, creating a negative pressure and a partial vacuum, which pulls water from a contaminated source outside the pipe not the treated, potable water inside the pipe. This creates a suitable environment for bacteriological contamination and other disease-causing organisms, including E. coli, to enter the water distribution system downstream... which is then delivered to users.”
The Mississippi State Department of Health issued a significant deficiency report on December 14, identifying the failure to make the repairs.
The report required Jackson to provide MSDH with a corrective action plan and timeframes for making the repairs by January 14.
Jackson had not provided that action plan by the date of the EPA notice.
WLBT has reached out to the city and is waiting to hear back.
Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Copyright 2022 WLBT. All rights reserved.