Jackson processing plant registers gains

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JACKSON, Mississippi — A treatment plant at the center of water issues in Mississippi’s capital made “significant” gains overnight and through Saturday, Jackson officials said.

According to a news release, total output from the OB Curtis water plant increased to 86 pounds per square inch, approaching the city’s goal of 87 PSI or better.

“The outlook is very stable,” the city said in the statement. “However, additional challenges as repairs and adjustments are made leave potential for ongoing fluctuations.”

The city said most customers should have water pressure, and only a few remaining pockets in south Jackson may still experience low or no pressure.

“Work continues today at the plant on the membrane and conventional systems. This work is initially focused on increasing production capacity at the OB Curtis facility,” the statement said. “Increased production capacity will create more stability in the water supply.”

Teams from Georgia and Florida Rural Water Associations are also on site, helping to repair and restore many automated systems that will allow for better management of water production and water quality, said the city.

Once the pressure is restored, there are concerns about the strain on the aging and brittle pipes, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told a press conference. Even when the water is flowing again, you don’t know when it will be drinkable.

The rains, followed by the flooding of the Pearl River, exacerbated long-standing problems at the sewage treatment plant, causing pressure to drop across Jackson, where residents were already under an order month old water boil due to poor water quality.

The problems led to a declaration of emergency from Republican Governor Tate Reeves on Monday and a declaration of disaster from President Joe Biden.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi State Health Department says residents may see flares at the plant as crews work to transfer ammonia from a leaking tank that needs repair. .

“There may be controlled combustion of the gas which may cause a visible eruption in the sky,” Jim Craig, a state health official, said in a news release. “There is no need to worry and there is no threat to the public.”

Anhydrous ammonia is a colorless, non-flammable liquefied gas. A propane flare is installed on site to burn off any gas that may escape from the product transfer and repair the leaking ammonia tank.

Nearly 2.8 million bottles of water have been distributed through Friday afternoon, the state emergency agency reported. Non-potable water, for flushing toilets and other uses, was also offered to people who brought their own containers to some sites.

The entire city had been without water or low pressure at one time. Figures on the number of homes and businesses whose service has been restored were not available.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Deanne Criswell, left, speaks with Jim Craig of the Mississippi State Department of Health during a visit to the treatment facility in OB Curtis Water from the City of Jackson in Ridgeland, Mississippi on Friday, Sept. 29, 2019. 2, 2022. Jackson’s water system partially failed following flooding and heavy rains that exacerbated long-standing problems at one of the two water treatment plants. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, POOL)
Photo Clouds reflect off the sedimentation ponds at the City of Jackson’s OB Curtis Water Treatment Facility in Ridgeland, Mississippi, Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. Jackson’s water system has partially collapsed outage following flooding and heavy rains that exacerbated long-standing problems in one of the two water treatment systems. plants. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, swimming pool)
Photo Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Deanne Criswell, right, leads a group of officials to an observation deck that overlooks sedimentation ponds during a tour of the sewage treatment facility Water OB Curtis of the City of Jackson in Ridgeland, Miss. , Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. Jackson’s water system has partially failed following flooding and heavy rains that exacerbated long-standing issues at one of two water treatment plants. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, swimming pool)
Photo Jackson City firefighters and Humana volunteers help distribute more than forty thousand bottles of water and three thousand MREs to Jackson residents Friday, Sept. 2, 2022 in Jackson, Mississippi (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Photo A sign taped to the door of the closed Mama’s Eats and Sweets restaurant is one of the victims of the Friday, Sept. 2, 2022, water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
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