State, city leaders tout improvements at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant

The Anne Arundel Co. Department of Public Works helped repair a water pump at the O.B. Curtis...
The Anne Arundel Co. Department of Public Works helped repair a water pump at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, increasing the facility's capacity to produce clean drinking water.(MSDH)
Published: Sep. 23, 2022 at 5:43 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - City and state leaders are touting a number of improvements made at Jackson’s main water treatment facility.

Friday, the Mississippi State Department of Health announced that crews had “completed work on the newly installed raw water pump 4,” which will allow the facility to produce an additional 8 million gallons a day.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency thanked EMAC crews for efforts to clean filters on the plant’s conventional treatment side.

The agency said the improvements “increased filter efficiency and effectiveness, resulting in improved control and capacity for water production.”

Curtis treats water through a conventional method and membrane filtration method. On the conventional side, water is pumped into large basins and allowed to settle. From there, it is chemically treated before being sent to the clear well and into the city’s water distribution system.

On the membrane side, water is brought in from the Barnett Reservoir, diverted past the conventional basin, and pushed through membrane filters.

The news comes more than three weeks after Gov. Tate Reeves announced that the state would be taking over operations at the Curtis plant after equipment failures there left tens of thousands of people in Jackson, Byram, and Hinds County without water.

With the added water, pressure in the system also is increasing. According to a city news release, the plant has “recovered to a steady pressure of 90 PSI,” even after a major water leak caused challenges in the last 24 hours.

The city credits the plant’s ability to recover to raw water pump No. 4 being returned to service. “This type of ability to increase production through challenges is the redundancy the team has been working toward,” the news release states.

Repairs are being made at the plant, in large part, thanks to the efforts of teams brought in through an Emergency Management Assistance Compact. The teams are not only helping with repairs but are supplementing staff shortages at both the Curtis and J.H. Fewell facilities.

Teams onsite hail from New York, South Carolina, Ohio, Michigan, and Maryland. Personnel includes water operators, electricians, mechanics, instrument technicians, and maintenance personnel. The Mississippi Rural Water Association also is helping in the effort.

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