Officials faced ‘setback’ at Jackson water plant; Miss. National Guard to deploy Thursday

Ty Carter, right, and Benjamin Williams, with Garrett Enterprises, fill up a five-gallon jug...
Ty Carter, right, and Benjamin Williams, with Garrett Enterprises, fill up a five-gallon jug for an area resident from a water tanker at Forest Hill High School in Jackson, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2022.(Rogelio V. Solis | AP)
Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 4:34 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Gov. Tate Reeves, along with MEMA officials, provided updates Wednesday on the ongoing water crisis in Mississippi’s capital city, affecting its nearly 170,000 residents.

According to MEMA, the emergency rental pump from Florida has now been installed at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant - the city’s main water plant.

After the final adjustments are made, this pump will supply an additional four million gallons of water a day. Another pump could be available as soon at September 6.

“This is the first step of many and we will continue to work with our partners until the job is done,” MEMA stated.

According to Reeves’ social media page, there is more to be done, “but the work is happening at an incredible pace!”

However, according to a city spokesperson, the O.B. Curtis plant experienced some challenges with water chemistry again early Wednesday morning which has resulted in the depletion of the surface water tanks.

The overall water pressure has decreased to 40 PSI, they said, and, at this level, most surface water customers will have little to no pressure. The ideal PSI is at least 87, which would ensure proper water pressure on the city’s surface system.

Jim Craig, Senior Deputy and Director, Mississippi State Department of Health, called this latest development at O.B. Curtis a “setback,” but said that it’s important to remember the dedicated operators providing the city with the water it does have at the moment.

Craig said, at this point, those who have running water may notice the liquid showing a slight discoloration or cloudiness. He said it is still okay to drink if properly boiled first.

Gov. Reeves said they are currently flushing “bad water” out of the system while making mechanical improvements to prevent an even more catastrophic failure.

And until these tanks reach an adequate level, this will cause poor water pressure at times. A new rental pump has now been installed and other emergency repairs have been made.

Jim Craig also noted “substantial” electrical and mechanical issues at the plant. These are ongoing problems, he said, that have not been properly addressed. The issues included problems that had previously been “band-aided.”

“We’re gonna need electricians and mechanics and divers and other skilled operators to complete all of this work,” the governor said, “but it’s happening at a pace and level of professionalism that I am personally very grateful for.”

However, Reeves prepared Jackson residents for future interruptions, which “are not avoidable.”

The governor again advised those in Jackson to not drink the water, and to boil it if they must use it. Citizens can shower and bathe in the water, officials said, but instructed them not to let the water enter their mouth. Pets should also not ingest the water unless it is first boiled and cooled.

Starting Thursday, the Mississippi National Guard will be deployed, including 600 guardsmen in 123 vehicles, to distribute water and other necessities.

Reeves said it is not “easy or fair” for those in the city to deal with this burden, but his administration is here “to serve you and to fix the problems that have been created.”

Want more WLBT news in your inbox? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.