About 12,000 customers, largely in west and south Jackson, are seeing low to no water pressure after this week’s winter freeze, third-party manager JXN Water reported Thursday morning.
JXN Water subsequently issued boil water notices to those customers in the following areas:
- 39209 – West Jackson along the 49 corridor
- 39204 – West/Central Jackson along 49 corridor to Pearl River and south on east side of 55 between 55 and the Pearl River
- 39212 – South Jackson
- 39272 – South Jackson
- 39170 – South Jackson
Those parts of the city have historically seen the most pressure issues because of their distance from the water treatment facilities, where water enters from the Pearl River and gets sent out for consumption.
Ted Henifin, head of JXN Water, said the demand for water was 40% higher by Wednesday afternoon than on a typical day, and that the plants were “using up pretty much all the margin in our system.” He attributed the issues to pipe breaks in the distribution system, but he also suspected delays with fixing leaks on private properties, which are outside of JXN Water’s authority.
“Last Christmas’ (of 2022) outage, we learned that a lot of private property plumbing that broke wasn’t getting repaired quickly,” Henifin said.
In addition, JXN Water said “deliberate” misinformation in social media posts about the water system’s condition had led to “isolated pressure issues.” The social media posts, JXN Water said in a Wednesday news release, claimed that the city’s water treatment plants would shut down and that residents should prepare by filling up bath tubs and jugs.
The press release claimed that those posts were directly causing an increase in water demand.
Henifin said during a Thursday briefing that JXN Water would share screenshots of the social media posts with the media, but it had yet to do so by this publication.
When asked why he thought it was deliberate, Henifin called the messaging “well crafted” and that it cited JXN Water staff as a source. He also called the timing “suspect” because the system was already under stress.
He added that JXN Water was working with law enforcement agencies to find the original source of the posts and determine if there was any “malicious intent.” JXN Water declined to say which agencies Henifin was referring to.
Overall, compared to the Christmas 2022 event, which led a citywide boil water notice lasting nearly two weeks, Henifin said the weather conditions this week weren’t much different, but that the city has responded better by having 14 crews to make repairs versus just the two the city had in 2022.
“I think our estimation is we would’ve lost the system, probably (Tuesday night) without the crews and without the plants and the condition they’re in today,” he said.
Henifin added that it may take “a day or two” to restore pressure, and asked customers to minimize water use over the next day.
Jackson Public Schools, which closed its schools this week due to icy conditions, announced that it would shift to virtual learning on Thursday because of the pressure issues. Henifin said he recommended that JPS continue virtual learning on Friday, too, because the issues wouldn’t be resolved by then.
The drinking water disruptions, a familiar occurrence for Jacksonians this time of year, come just after the state Mississippi State Department of Health issued a citywide boil water notice after detecting E.coli in the city’s supply. JXN Water disputed the test results, and ultimately the Health Department lifted the notice after just a day. MSDH also issued a notice for Flowood’s water system after finding E.coli, but lifted that one after two days.
Read original article by clicking here.