The State of Mississippi is now in talks with a private company about managing its capital city’s struggling water system, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said during a press conference Tuesday. The City of Jackson was also in discussions with the company before the State took over, he added.
“We had been in discussion with a corporation about taking over an operations and maintenance contract, but what I delayed telling you is that conversation stopped because they picked it up with the State,” the mayor told reporters. “So we’ve been unable to reach an agreement with them because we’re no longer at the table to talk about what that agreement would look like.”
Lumumba did not name the company. His remarks came a day after Gov. Tate Reeves, at a separate Labor Day press conference, said he was considering various long-term ideas for addressing Jackson’s water problems and that “privatization is on the table.”
The Mississippi Free Press asked the mayor’s office for the name of the company with whom the City and State have had discussions, but Jackson Communications Director Melissa Faith Payne said the City was not releasing its name “due to ongoing negotiations.” The City provided no indication of a request-for-proposal process.
No ‘Mission Accomplished Banner’
The City of Jackson has been under a boil-water notice since July 29, but the problems reached acute levels early last week when residents lost water pressure due to failures at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. The crisis required the mobilization of state and federal resources to help fix the immediate issue and supply residents with millions of bottles of water in the meantime.
Officials said they had restored water pressure to the capital city by Monday, but the boil-water notice remains in effect. Though Jacksonians again have running water,
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