WHAT CAUSED THIS CRISIS?
The OB Curtis Water Facility has failed. It is not operating anywhere near to full capacity. Governor Reeves said for all they know; it may not be operating at all.
Governor Reeves explained that there are two primary pumps at the facility, each pump has two motors, both of those pumps and motors went out some time ago. There were back-up pumps available, those have been operating for an extended period of time. He also stated that the plant is severely understaffed. Governor Reeves said there are very talented people working there, and they should be considered heroes…there are just not enough people working.
“We do not have reliable running water at scale. it means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs.”
WHAT IS THE RESULT OF THE O.B. WATER PLANT FAILING?
Over 180,000 people in the cities of Jackson and Byram will likely be COMPLETELY without running water or water pressure in their homes, businesses, anywhere in the city.
The city cannot provide volunteer firefighters water to put out fires, residents cannot flush toilets or bathe, or brush their teeth. This takes it to a different level, particularly in a city the size of Jackson
Governor Reeves explained the severity of the situation by saying: He said this is much different than a boil water notice that Jackson residents have grown numb to. This is now concerning water flowing through the pipes AT ALL.
“We’ve struggled in the city of Jackson with the quality of water, now we’re talking about quantity of water”.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
A Unified Instant Command Center will be set up tomorrow. There will be a daily instant command report where every single day, anybody can find out what’s going on with the process.
Engineers and experts with MEMA and the State Department of Health will go inside of the OB Curtis Water Facility and have more visibility as to what that will take to fix this issue once they get inside.
Contract workers will be hired to help and work in the facility and work on emergency repairs. Governor Reeves said that orders in the city of Jackson were not being adhered to since 2016 in regard to the water plant.
MEMA Director Stephen McCraney said that they are immediately organizing resources to provide water for sanitation and life safety. That is the first priority.
Governor Reeves said,
“We have the best emergency response team in all of America. We will do everything in our power. We will cash flow the operation, the city will be responsible for half the costs of improvements the city has to make.”
-MEMA will take the state’s lead on distributing drinking water and non-drinking water to the entire city of Jackson. Non-drinking water is available to flush toilets, etc.
-MEMA has immediately organized water for fire safety.
-Water distribution is also available at all fire stations from the city of Jackson.
-MEMA will have another water distribution organization set up for residents alongside the city’s efforts. (This will not be at fire stations)
-18 wheelers are on the way with drinking water
-400-500 tankers are on the way to Jackson with non-potable water
-Residents need to continue to boil and conserve water
Governor Reeves stated,
“It is going to be a massive undertaking to be prepared to distribute potable and non-potable water at different facilities to keep people in a spot in which they can properly function…Please stay safe, do not drink the water. in too many cases it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes. Be smart, protect yourself protect your family, preserve water, look out for your fellow man and look out for your neighbors.”
MEMA Director Stephen McCraney reassured residents that they are taking this very seriously, and they are ready for this emergency. They are prepared and they have an incredible team who is ready for the task at hand.
“Every person that has skin in the game is at the table…We’re getting the people what they need. Life safety and fire safety”
Jackson Public Schools announced that they will shift to virtual learning tomorrow, August 30th for students.
We will continue to update this developing story.