With input from the Mississippi Department of Health, Mississippi State Emergency Management Agency, three different federal agencies, and water plant operators in Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana , the water pressure leaving the OB Curtis treatment plant in Jackson has finally stabilized.
Authorities made progress last week when the city’s biggest water treatment plant broke down, leaving most of the capital’s more than 150,000 residents with little or no water pressure. Since the weekend, pressure at the city’s largest water treatment facility has reportedly been at or near ideal levels, hovering around a target 87 pounds per square inch (PSI), according to the update. city update.
But stress or not, Jacksonians have had to boil water or brush their teeth for the past 40 days, as recommended by the Mississippi Department of Health. MSDH could not lift the recommendation until municipal authorities collected 120 E. coli and coliforms for two consecutive days.
Gov. Tate Reeves said Wednesday that a combination of heavy rain, flooding and low pressure has prevented Jackson from taking those samples for the past few weeks, and the city will now spend days chasing “bad” water. Sampling can then be resumed. . It’s unlikely to happen before Friday, Reeves said.
water quality and turbidity
MSDH first issued a citywide boil water advisory on July 29 due to cloudy or cloudy water in Jackson. MSDH explained that while the turbidity itself is not dangerous, it can interfere with the disinfection process, which is why the city must collect samples that show the system is bacteria-free.
City officials attributed the turbidity to pH levels that lime mud operators use to balance the water.
Prior to the suspension of sampling, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba pointed out that only a few of the 120 samples showed bacteria, although the city never indicated whether there was a trend for places to sampling do not produce clean results. Lumumba called the turbidity a “technical violation” in early August and said it did not pose a threat to public health.
Asked about this feature, Drexel University associate professor Anneclaire De Roos, who specializes in environmental and occupational health, said the turbidity guidelines are “a line not to cross” and that federal water limits drinkable” are not as complete as they should be. . Maybe conservative.
“Turbidity is an indicator of the likelihood of increased pathogen numbers,” Drews said. “More particles in the water correlate with higher levels of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, etc.”
Testing water systems for turbidity is more efficient than testing each pathogen individually, she explained. De Roos said the turbidity readings recorded in the MSDH boil water advisory were between 1 and 2.5 turbidity units, while the legal threshold of 0.3 was “definitely high”.
Last week, as the city struggled to generate enough water pressure, the Environmental Protection Agency allowed Jackson to discharge water with higher than allowed turbidity to ensure that there was enough pressure in the system for sanitation purposes.
Just weeks before the July advisory, the MSDH issued a separate citywide boil water advisory on June 30, as turbidity persisted for just over a week.
City officials have been “surveying” the sample over the past three days to determine when official sampling can resume, but so far there is no timeline.
Jackson also announced that MSDH on Tuesday issued two new permits for workers at the OB Curtis plant, doubling the plant’s capacity for Level A operators.
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