JXN Water pushes to repair broken lines as freezing weather eases

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Effort underway to repair broken pipes near Belhaven following two weeks of record low freezes and subsequent thaw in Jackson.

Facing more than 145 broken pipes brought on by the deep freeze and the thawing out that causes the pipes to contract and stretch beyond the breaking point, JXN Water management has dispatched repair crews all over Jackson to keep the damage under control.

“By the end of the week we’ll be caught up with everything that’s broke,” Water systems administrator Ted Henifin said early in the week. “We’ll continue to see breaks, but I feel we’ll be caught up by the end of the week.”

The National Weather Service expects temperatures to remain above freezing for the next 10 days.

“Demand is down significantly from the peak experienced during the freeze but still remains about 4 million gallons per day above our average,” Henifin said. “There may still be isolated events. Fortunately, the plant operations at O. B. Curtis and J. H. Fewell treatment plants escaped the freeze without any harm to their system.” 

JXN Water announced Monday a temporary closure of Princeton Street between West Capitol and Ethel Moore Avenue for multiple sewer repairs. Drivers are reminded to slow down and avoid distractions and to be on high alert for roadside workers during the closure.

JXN Water announced Tuesday that boil water notices have been lifted for Zip Codes 39209, 39204, 39212, 39272, and 39170.

Community activist Vince Gibbs, pastor of the Byram Church of Christ, says that the water problems in North Jackson have been kept under control following the deep freeze that gripped the city in mid-December. 

“The pressure was down a couple of weeks ago when we had all those breaks,” Gibbs said. “We were all affected over here. The pressure and the color of the water are back up to speed now. Under the circumstances, the water management team has done a great job.

“We had another drop in temperatures Monday night, but from what I’ve seen there probably won’t be another hard freeze for a while. They’ve pretty much repaired most of what caused the system to break down last year. A lot of the infrastructure they’ve put in place has held up. It’s the old stuff that they haven’t gotten to that’s still breaking down. The old pipes and sewer lines that we’ve had for the past 40 or 50 years are still breaking down and bursting due to the contractions caused by the freezing up and thawing out of the pipes. But the new pipes and equipment they’ve laid on North State Street have held up. 

“I don’t blame any of this on Ted Henifin,” Gibbs said. “I think of it as a ball game. When they gave Henifin the ball, this town had already suffered from more than 40 years of white flight and the total neglect of Jackson’s economy. They built up Madison, Ridgeland, Flowood, and Pearl. But they left Jackson in shambles. There was no money for anything after the white flight took place. But thank God for Bennie Thompson and Deborah Malone who came through for the people of Jackson.”

Gibbs said Reeves and his predecessor, Phil Bryant, are responsible for Jackson’s broken economy. 

“If you blame anybody, blame Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant before him,” Gibbs said. “The scheme Reeves put in place before he got reelected allowed no money for Jackson. Not even the American Rescue Plan money was given to the city.” 

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JXN Water pushes to repair broken lines as freezing weather eases

By Earnest McBride
February 5, 2024