Jackson returns normal water pressure, maintains boil advisory

Sept. 6, 2022
The Mississippi city’s water pressure has returned to normal a week after its O.B. Curtis Water Plant had failed, but its boil advisory has remained in effect since late July.

The city of Jackson, Miss. announced that most water pressure has returned to normal on Sunday. Sept. 4, almost a week after the pumps at its O.B. Curtis Water Plant had failed. However, the city’s boil advisory remains in effect.

The city entered a state of emergency after excessive rainfall flooded the O.B. Curtis Water Plant’s main reservoir, damaging its backup pumps and incapacitating the city’s already-challenged water infrastructure.

The water pressure had met the city’s goal for the first time on Sunday, and the city announced that multiple water storage tanks around the city had filled.

The plant’s ideal water pressure is 87 pounds per square inch (PSI). The pressure had dropped Monday, Aug. 29, following the plant’s failure, reached 80 PSI on Tuesday, and dropped to 40 PSI on Wednesday. The city had reached 78 PSI by the morning of Thursday, Sept. 1, and had reached its goal of 87 PSI by Sunday.

This pressure is higher than the city’s water distribution system had seen in years. According to the Clarion Ledger, Lumumba has voiced concern that the increased pressure could rupture the city’s aging pipes.

While water pressure returns to homes across the city, residents still cannot drink the water directly: a boil water advisory has remained in effect since July 29. In order to lift this advisory, the city will need to achieve clean samples at 120 testing sites for two consecutive days.

According to Reuters, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Natar Lumumba said the city may have water approved as fit for drinking within days rather than weeks, but that ensuring a "reliable, sustainable" water treatment facility was "a much longer road ahead."

An array of contractors have been inspecting the site and planning repairs. The Mississippi National Guard and Emergency Management Agency have helped distribute both drinking water and non-potable water for over 150,000 residents, and both federal and state resources have been directed toward helping the city’s water treatment system.

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Jeremy Wolfe

Jeremy Wolfe is an Editor for WaterWorld magazine. Email him at [email protected].

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