Timeline: Jackson Water Crisis

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1888
Private Water Company Owns Jackson's Water Supply

Sixty-seven years after its founding in 1821, a private company begins distributing water in the city.

1908
The city of Jackson Private buys out private company
1914
The construction of JH Fewell provides treated water to citizens of Jackson

When the J. H. Fewell plant was opened in 1908, Jackson’s population was less than 8,000. It began to grow exponentially as the century advanced.  Located in Jackson,  near I-55 and Woodrow Wilson, the J. H. Fewell plant gets its water from the Pearl River.

Late 1980s
Construction of OB Curtis Treatment Plant begins

In 1940, the city population was 62,500. It reached a peak of 202,895 in 1980. The new numbers necessitated a better water system. The O. B. Curtis plant was built in the late 1980s to handle this increased demand. The  plant draws its source water from the Ross Barnett Reservoir.

Late 1980s
Jackson elects its first Black mayor

Harvey Johnson, Jr. became the first Black mayor of Jackson on ______ 1997.

The 1990s saw a dramatic change in Jackson’s racial makeup. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, nearly 35,000 white residents fled the city from 1990 to 2000. The white population dropped dramatically while the Black population continued to rise.

White residents took their tax dollars to the surrounding bedroom communities. Between 2000 and 2020 the populations of Madison and Rankin counties grew by 35,000 and 42,000, respectively. 

2006
Modern membrane filtration system built on to OB Curtis plant

The OB Curtis plant began as a conventional system but went on to also install a modern membrane filtration system in 2006. Each of the plants can produce the 50 million gallons of water a day that would satisfy Jackson’s needs, although the O. B. Curtis plant is the real workhorse of the system and may eventually become the sole operating plant. 


March 27, 2015
Mayor Tony Yarber declares state of emergency over failing infrastructure

Mayor Tony Yarber declared a state of emergency due to rough roads filled with potholes and multiple water main breaks. The Jackson City Council did not approve Yarber's proposal. 

February 14, 2021
Winter storm hits Jackson

The city of Jackson experienced below freezing temperatures including  approximately four inches of snow and two inches of sleet in a winter storm that began on Valentine's Day 2021. The freezing temperatures created a malstrom of issues for the capital city. Chief among them was the frozen slush of the Ross Barnett Reservoir where the OB Curtis plant filters water from.  This caused frozen plant equipment, including the raw water screens, and over 80 water main breaks throughout the city.

February/March 2021
Jackson residents go weeks without water

The city of Jackson experienced below freezing temperatures including  approximately 2 inches of sleet in a winter storm that began on Valentine's Day 2021. The freezing temperatures created a malstrom of issues for the capital city. Chief among them was the frozen slush of the Ross Barnett Reservoir where the OB Curtis plant filters water from.  This caused frozen plant equipment and over 80 water main breaks throughout the city.

March 3 2021
Setbacks at the OB Curtis Plant

On Day 18 of the winter storm water crisis, some setbacks were experienced at the OB Curtis plant. Raw water screens were not operating properly as a result of debris blocking the flow of water. Plant technicians had to build pressure back up which meant that the week's earlier gains were for naught ans some Jackson residents who did gain some water pressure went back to experiencing low or no water pressure.

2021
Electrical fire at OB Curtis plant

electrical fire, causing another shutdown and a boil-water alert.

September 1, 2022
Half of the tanks at OB Curtis plant fill back up
Over half of the tanks on the surface system have begun filling back up, said representatives from the city of Jackson. 
 The total plant output increased to 78 PSI with a goal of 87 PSI.
 
Operators have b the plant assessment and have begun working on initial projects to increase the stability of the system which includes a series of repairs and equipment adjustments on site. 
September 3, 2022
Anhydrous Ammonia tank leak repair at O.B. Curtis

MSDH officials transferred and emptied anhydrous ammonia from a leaking tank.

Officials warned of a controlled burn-off of the gas whiched caused a visible, yet harmless, flare into the sky. 

The total plant output increased to 86 PSI with water reaching  the Suncrest Tank and teams from Georgia and Florida rural water associations worked to repair and restore many of the automated systems at the plant.

*Anhydrous ammonia is a colorless non-flammable liquefied gas. Its vapor is lighter than air and has the same pungent odor as household ammonia.  

September 4, 2022
O.B. Curtis Water output reaches 90 PSI

The OB Curtis plant exceeded its goal of 87 PSI. There were no tanks at low levels; multiple tanks  were approaching full. Officials noted that most of the city's residents should have normal water pressure. 

Plant operators and officials also worked to restore Membrane Plant Train #5  which allowed Membrane Train #3 to be cleaned. Operators also focused on restoring the sludge plant to full operation and completed the repair to the tank leak from the previous day. 

September 5, 2022
MEMA closes three distribution sites

Due to water water output stabilization at the OB Curtis Plant, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency began the process of closing three of our distribution sites: Thomas Cardozo Middle School, Northwest Jackson Middle School, and Hinds Community College Jackson. 4,998,384 bottles of water had been distributed by MEMA since September 1. 

September 6, 2022
Jackson Public Schools re-opened

Jackson Public Schools reopened schools and returned to in-person learning. School officials noted that several schools may experience delays in school buildings reaching the optimum coolness due to several air conditioning systems that depend on water to run effectively. 

September 15, 2022
Current Jackson water crisis comes to an end

The Jackson water system has been restored to its original state before the current crisis, Gov. Tate Reeves announced at a 1 p.m. press conference Thursday. Going forward, the O. B. Curtis water processing plant will be under the direction of a temporary program management contractor that was signed off on at noon Thursday, MEMA Executive Director Steven McCraney said at the press conference.  

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Timeline: Jackson Water Crisis

By Jackson Advocate News Service
September 22, 2022