Jackson residents have safe water again this week, after the city announced today that it was lifting the boil-water notice put in place after a control-panel fire at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. The boil-water notice extended through the weekend to all surface water connections in the city after last week’s fire forced Jackson’s main water treatment plant offline.
Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba and Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams addressed the media today, assuring the public that the results of an investigation into an electrical fire are forthcoming.
“We are still investigating the electrical fire—some of that will have to take place after we remove the control panel,” Williams said. While the City was able to get the plant back online by Friday afternoon, the process of restoring pressure to the entire system is a laborious one.
“We are currently around 85 PSI. Our storage tanks are starting to refill, (and) we have lifted our boil-water notice,” Williams finished.
When systemwide pressure drops below 65 PSI, a precautionary boil-water notice is required, due to the potential for contamination of water in the transmission system through a process called “backsiphonage,” where negative pressure inside empty pipes sucks in potentially contaminated groundwater from outside the system.
The Mississippi State Department of Health tested samples from the transmission pipes over the weekend, finding no signs of dangerous conditions, and giving the all-clear for the boil-water notice to be lifted this morning.
At the press event, Lumumba said that a cost estimate for all damaged equipment would accompany the conclusion of the full investigation into the causes of the fire.
“I consider us to still be under a state of crisis. We’re still dealing with an aged system, part of a legacy city, that is not weatherized. It’s a matter of when, not if we will suffer another challenge in our water system,” Lumumba finished.
Read Nick Judin’s in-depth coverage of the 2021 Jackson water crisis to date, including its historic and systemic cause.