Mayor Harvey Johnson still says Jackson’s 133 water main breaks were due to extended sub-freezing temperatures and not delinquent system updates.
At an 11 a.m. City Hall press conference Johnson said $100 million has been invested in the city system over the past 12 years. According to a decade-old study, approximately $300 million would be required to update the Jackson water system. A new study needs to be done, he said.
At least 36 water line breaks still need to be repaired. The city will be under a boil water alert for two days after the breaks are repaired so the Health Department can verify water is safe to drink.
Johnson said Jackson comprises 125 square miles and has infrastructure that is typical of an older city, and water and sewer system repairs are an ongoing process.
The city is “seeing some level of progress” in repairs, and more updates will be available this afternoon, Johnson said.
Employees are working on a web site map showing the locations of water line breaks and repairs that will hopefully be up by the afternoon, Johnson said. The city still asks residents to call their hotline at (601) 960-1111 for information and to report needed repairs.
Jackson currently has access to $12 million in federal stimulus money, none of which is dedicated to water system improvements, Johnson said. Some stimulus money has been used for road repairs. Johnson said there is talk of more stimulus money coming through that could be used for water system repairs in urban areas such as Jackson.
Buildings on more highly elevated areas may be without water or high water pressure longer than buildings in lower elevations, Johnson said. A pressure of 65 pounds per square inch (PSI) would “make everybody comfortable,” Johnson said. Tuesday’s PSI numbers were in the 30s, and the city’s current pressure is 44 PSI.