Emergency officials respond to chlorine leak at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant

Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 1:09 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Employees were evacuated from the chemical building at Jackson’s main water treatment facility Monday morning following a chlorine leak there, according to a news release from the State Emergency Operations Center.

The incident occurred around 9:04 a.m. Officials identified a chlorine leak in the chemical building at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. All personnel was evacuated and multiple agencies responded. No injuries were reported.

The building has air scrubbers to keep chlorine from escaping the building. The devices worked as designed, the release states.

First responders, along with O.B. Curtis’s maintenance staff, identified three leaking valves and secured the area. No other evacuations of the surrounding area were needed. Agencies responding included the Ridgeland Fire Department, and Jackson Fire Department Hazmat Team.

“The chemical building at O.B. Curtis is an area where increased focus needs to occur to abate additional safety hazards,” said Jim Craig, an incident commander with the Mississippi State Department of Health. “While this was a chlorine leak, [MSDH] engineers monitored the water disinfection during the leak; the disinfection process was uninterrupted.”

The state took control of the plant in late August after equipment failures led to a cut in water service/pressure for thousands of customers. As a result of those failures, some 150,000 people were without clean drinking water for days.

Gov. Tate Reeves announced that clean water had been restored to most Jackson residents last week, but said the city’s treatment facility remained fragile.

An ammonia leak was reported at the plant in June, which was one of several factors that led to a water conservation notice being issued at the time.

Hemphill Construction has been brought on to help oversee the state’s emergency response plans.

The all-clear was given at 11:08 a.m.

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