News Feature | March 10, 2017

Water For 40,000 At Risk Due To Line Repairs

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome

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The city of Jackson, MS, is warning residents that they may lose water service this weekend as workers undertake major repairs on the water system.

The warning to 40,000 local residents includes the possibility of low water pressure or no service at all, The Clarion-Ledger reported. As workers focus on the task of repairing a series of water line breaks, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency warned of potential service problems between Friday and Sunday.

“The planned water main repair is expected to happen Friday, March 10 at 3 p.m. Officials say they expect it to end by Sunday, March 12 at 3 p.m,” according to MS News Now. A total of 17 zip codes may be affected.

Officials say residents should stock up on bottled water, The Clarion-Ledger reported. A limited amount of bottled water is available to residents, the report said:

Officials will set up three water distribution stations at the Jackson Police Department Precinct 1 on Cooper Road, Precinct 2 at Metrocenter and the West Street side of Jackson State University's Veterans Memorial Stadium. Customers are limited to picking up one case of bottled water per person.

Among the city’s biggest tasks: getting the message out.

"We will be pushing out messages all weekend long as far as status updates, where we're at, the availability of our water resources, any other information that we find pertinent to our stakeholders," said Brandon Falcon, Jackson's emergency manager.

The infrastructure repairs include three water line breaks in a 3-mile span, the report said. City officials estimate the system is losing about 40 percent of its water to breaks.

“You've got a life cycle that's going to be on any of your infrastructure. The expectation is that it's not going to last forever, so you're going to have to make repairs at some point," Interim Public Works Director Jarriot Smash said, per the report.

The state is prepared to step in if the repairs go haywire, according to MS News Now. “Governor Bryant has prepared a State of Emergency, which has already been drafted, just in case repairs don't go as planned. At this point, a State of Emergency is not being declared unless Hinds County requests it,” the report said.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Lee Smithson offered encouraging words, per the report: "In Mississippi when things get bad, we get good," said Smithson. "This is not a crisis or disaster. It's an emergency situation. Everyone come together and help your neighbors out. We'll get through this just fine."

Local businesses are less than thrilled about the planned service disruptions.

“Hotels in Jackson might have to relocate guests who have already booked rooms for this weekend because of a scheduled water outage,” WAPT reported.

Allan Cole, with the Holiday Inn Express on High Street, weighed in: “This is a horrible, horrible, horrible weekend for the city of Jackson to shut down. We could end up having to just relocate guests at a cost to us. Not only do we lose money, but it ends up costing us money.”

To read more about water main breaks visit Water Online’s Solutions And Insight For Water Loss Prevention.

Image credit: "24.365_bottled_water" Todd Morris © 2010, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: