News Briefs: Jackson Is Without Reliable Water Indefinitely After Treatment Plant Failure

Also in this week's sewer and water news, Green Bay (Wisconsin) Public Works cleans out 1,200 feet of sewer pipe and finds so-called “flushable wipes” clogging two of the city’s pumps

In what Time magazine is calling a “crisis decades in the making,” 180,000 residents in Jackson, Mississippi lack access to reliable drinking water for the near future as the city’s primary water treatment facility failed in late August.

In an emergency declaration, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said residents of the capital city would be without “reliable running water at scale” for an indefinite period of time and that there isn’t enough water to flush toilets or fight fires.

Inadequate water infrastructure funding has led to ongoing issues at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, and recent flooding of a nearby river exacerbated those issues. Residents have been boiling water since July, and the plant has been relying on backup pumps since its main pumps failed. The problem worsened when flooding damaged the plant and water pressure was lost.

EPA Releases Guidance to Support Water Investments for U.S. Territories and D.C.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued a memorandum to help implement over $173 million for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure needs in the District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories.

“Safe drinking water and reliable wastewater infrastructure are essential for the livelihood and economic vitality of communities everywhere,” says EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “The EPA is committed to collaborating with D.C. and the Territories to address their most pressing needs and maximize the impact of this unprecedented investment from the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”  

As part of the memorandum, EPA is providing information and guidelines on how it will award and administer Fiscal Year 2022 allocations of $63 million to D.C. and $110 million to the Territories, including American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this funding will allow D.C. and the Territories to improve compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Water Act and protect the environment. 

Wipes Cause 1,200-Foot Clog in Green Bay Sewers

Green Bay (Wisconsin) Public Works recently cleaned out 1,200 feet of sanitary sewer pipe and found so-called “flushable wipes” and absorbent pads clogging two of the city’s pumps.

“These wipes literally placed hundreds of homes and businesses at risk for a sanitary backup. We could have had a very catastrophic event, and this goes on all over the city,” Public Works Director Steve Grenier told WBAY News.

In an effort to remind homeowners to practice good flushing practices, Genier also told the news organization that the city now has a lateral launch camera system that allows it to track down the sources of wipes clogs.


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