Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Shoestrings, Lies, & Perfect Storms

Health Department officials worried a year ago that Jackson's water system would implode - and implode it did seven months later.  An internal email reveals the lies, neglect, and plain ole incompetence that plagued Jackson's water treatment plants continued long after the EPA came calling last year. 

The Health Department repeatedly warned Jackson about its water treatment systems for several years but the city blew off the agency's concerns.  A Frustrated Mississippi State Department of Health called in the EPA in late 2019. 

The EPA inspected Jackson's water treatment plants in February 2020.  The agency discovered a pattern of neglect, malfunctioning equipment, and lack of qualified personnel when it inspected Jackson's water treatment plants. It issued an Emergency Administrative Order against the city on March 27, 2020.  

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba never notified the public of the EPA order until after this website broke the news on April 7, 2021, over a year later.  The Mayor refused to discuss the order in public and told the City Council he would only discuss it in executive session. 

The EPA ordered the city to submit the weekly and monthly logs for the plants to the EPA and Health Department.  It still requires Jackson to do so.  

JJ obtained Health Department emails through a public records request. As Jackson's Mayor hid the real condition of Jackson's water treatment plants from the public, William Moody, P.E., Director of MSDH's Bureau of Public Water Safety warned his colleagues Jackson's water treatment system was on the brink of total failure and unable to deliver water to its citizens.  Mr. Moody stated in a June 25, 2020 email: 

 After review of this week’s operations logbook submission, we have a great deal of concern. You have heard the talk about “losing the process”.  The overall process at O. B. Curtis is in major decline.  Certain opinions at this office, based on the weekly logbook submissions, indicate “shoestring” operating conditions i.e. if the string breaks, the system may not be able to cover the water usage demand or worse not be able to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

Operational data indicates plants are barely able to keep up at this point. June 14-20, 2020 reports, show that the plants could NOT produce enough water to conduct proper plant maintenance on treatment systems while also maintaining system distribution levels.   All storage tanks were operating at lower levels with many operating at less than half of normal capacity. We are in the mild part of our summer with higher temperatures coming in July and August.  The mechanics of Yazoo clay work against the City of Jackson’s aging distribution system making water main breaks a definite occurrence in the coming months.

This year has shown that the City of Jackson’s Water system is rapidly building toward a “perfect storm”: 1) Poor asset management and maintenance, 2) financial difficulties with an  unwillingness to spend needed funds, and 3) the inability to consistently achieve compliance with various provisions of the SDWA (Safe Drinking Water Act).  Considering the NEIC’s (National Enforcement Investigation Center  of EPA) visit in February 2020, I believe that we can agree that the City is going in a negative direction.  Logs indicated system components are being stretched to their breakpoint and membrane trains are one continuous failed MIT away  from a shutdown along with log book statements such as “called J. H. Fewell to go up on high service flows per M. Carter due to customer low pressure calls”.  Plants are on the edge of  failure. Items that are repeatedly reported by upper management as functional or repaired are continuously reported by plant staff as having issues or failing in the WOR and the Operator log submissions (specifically the MIT system for trains). we are very concerned about the city of Jackson’s growing amount of mechanical issues at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant and overall its ability to maintain adequate production of safe drinking water for its customers.

The perfect storm literally hit in February as an ice storm shut down the ill-prepared water treatment plants despite the plants weathering similar storms in the 1990's.  It took nearly a month to completely restore water to the city.  South Jackson's well system broke down last month.  Jackson and Byram residents still suffer a lack of water service nearly a month later as the city was forced to scour for parts and then wait for their delivery. 

The Lumumba Administration is negotiating a consent decree with the EPA.  It has denied all public records request for correspondence with the EPA and Health Department.  

Kingfish note:  The Mayor hides the EPA Emergency Order.  The Mayor repeatedly lies to the national media and says the state doesn't pay water bills when it pays a great deal of money every year.  The Mayor lies at local press conferences.  The Mayor refuses to discuss the EPA order except behind closed doors.  Meanwhile, Bumbling Banks and his band of buffoons don't question anything as they are content to go along to get along with Lyin' Lumumba.  

Lyin' Lumumba deflects from the real truth as he repeatedly screeches the EPA and Health Department said Jackson's water is safe to drink.    Guess waht? No one said it was not safe to drink.  The city blew off the Health Department for years.  The Health Department in turn brought in the EPA.  The two agencies worried the water treatment plants would actually fail and fail they did in February.  The EPA order pointed out the plants didn't have enough qualified employees.  Equipment didn't work or wasn't calibrated.  Logs were kept haphazardly.  The Health Department worried the city would soon not be able to provide water at all.  The Mayor's insistence the water is safe to drink is his way of covering up his own administration's ineptitude in providing basic services. It doesn't matter if the water is safe if you can't even get it and that, my friends, is the bottom line.



Anonymous said...

so when is a governmental entity going to do something about it? politics kills people these days. the frog in the pot may start jumping soon

Anonymous said...

The mayor had a very specific agenda for the water system, although he didn't count on Kingfish to root him out.

His intentions were to let the system become completely dysfunctional, therefore creating a crisis that would propel him to be the savior of Jackson, obtain a massive amount of federal and state money and hopefully, get him some national exposure.

Instead, he has a shitty water system that is poisoning the residents, who, by the way, just reelected him.

Sorry baby chok. It didn't work.

Kingfish said...

Don't say that. He might raise his voice, right?

Anonymous said...

What does the Health Dept know? JFP says it’s white flight that caused it. Who would you believe?

Anonymous said...

Damn you institutionalized racism!!!!

Anonymous said...

According to the JFP, EVERYTHING is the fault of white people, excepting Donna and Todd.

Does anyone actually read that rag?

That'sMisterDeplorableToYou said...

@10:46 Some of the most racist things I have read come from JFP. They say that white flight from Jackson is at the root of every malady in Jackson -- crime, water/sewer, zoo, roads, disfunctional schools etc. It's as though they believe black people need to have white people to supervise them and keep them straight because they can't function on their own; that white flight is tantamount to abandoning a child.

Anonymous said...

Is there not fraud contained somewhere in all these deliberate and diabolical attempts at a cover-up?

Anonymous said...

KF, why don’t you fight them on the public records request issue? Take them to court or file a complaint at Ethics. What they’re doing is so clearly a violation of the PR Act that any court or authority would quickly make them produce the documents. The Ethics Commission can make them do it.

Anonymous said...

Maybe "doctor" Jill Biden should meet "doctor" Charles Williams, tour the WaterWorks, and opine another explanation.

Anonymous said...

Damning. No denying it. Lumumba is corrupt.

Anonymous said...

I fear KF and some of these documents he posts on this website might harsh the mayor's buzz.

Anonymous said...

KF an outside consultant , female and white, was brought in whose expertise in water systems is top drawer.

I talked to her. I think you can track her down.

The water system began in trouble and again, I ask what would you have done to fix it when this was written and where would you have gotten the money?

And, you need to ask how the Reservoir contributes to damaging the system.

I think the mayor should have told everyone how bad it was immediately. But, let's not pretend that wouldn't have been partisan and racial fodder as well.

I'm really weary of both parties and most all of their elected members and wannabees and yellow dog loyalists oversimplifying issues, exercising in personal attacks and criticizing, not addressing ACTIONS should to solve whatever problem exists.

That all citizens don't hold their elected officials of both parties to account and demand details as to how a plan is actually going to be implemented,IS why we are in such a mess at every level of government and why corruption is so easy.

Parties and the partisan websites are just flip sides of the same coin. Hold yourselves the same standard you demanded of the other party or partisans.

The hypocrisy in both parties is nauseating.

Anonymous said...

Why does Jackson still have a mask mandate when Chockwe doesn't wear one in public?

Anonymous said...

June 23, 2021 at 11:46 AM

Blah, blah, blah, nauseating, blah.

Anonymous said...

At 11:46: NO! What's nauseating is you people who keep bring politics into the equation when the problems have nothing to do with 'party'. The root of all the issues affecting Jackson, including the water system failures, is RACE, not political party.

I don't vote for democrats, but, if Jim Hood or Cecil Brown were mayor of Jackson, they would be miles along into solving this and other issues. Why? Because its how they were raised. They were raised learning how to identify, assign accountability to and put a plan in place. People like Chokwe hide within and behind race, where they know they won't be held accountable, they can mumble about validating the vision and shaping the playbook.

What's the reason Hood or Brown or any number of other democrats would tackle and control problems? Because they're white? Probably. We've run out of other reasons to suggest.

Chokwe, like his daddy before him and Obama...was raised to complain, agitate, hold his hand out, moan and blame others...It's was neighborhood agitators (community organizers) do. The End.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if you cut Baby Chok's 4th Avenue and M-Bar tabs out of the City's budget you would find plenty of cash or at least "tax credits."

Kingfish said...

It's not race. Lee tried to tell the truth and they tommed him. Stamps has spoken out but he gets no help on the council. Hell, Virgi tries to go into executive session every time he speaks up about it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

@11:46a- I'm not speaking for KF, but good grief, what more do you expect him to do??

I have no doubt he pays his taxes and cares for his property. And, we all know that he takes every opportunity to shine the truth on the poor leadership and chaos engulfing Jackson.

You want to know WHERE the money could come from? For one, if you had a city that was thriving and safe, there'd be more homeowners and businesses moving in (versus moving out) increasing the sales tax receipts and all property tax receipts. If you had a city with nicer homes and a majority of owners that INVESTED in their property, you would immediately see an increase in real property tax receipts. If you had a law enforcement and judicial system that cared about the safety of the citizens versus cowering to criminals, you'd see huge increases in sales tax receipts; but due to the current state of public safety, including the police and the court systems, most people avoid Jackson like the plague. Besides meeting infrastructure needs, these dollars would also contribute more to the school and operating budgets.

The best part is that All of these dollars would appear without a SINGLE tax rate increase.

And, I didn't even mention the obvious... how nice would it be to have a water department that actually collects payment for city services? This has been a known issue for years and NO ONE has taken the initiative to remedy the problem. The number thrown around is 'MILLIONS" lost, but who really knows??

The bottom line is that the tilt of the population of Jackson is not looking to contribute to the growth of their city with anything more than "WORDS." The current majority in Jackson is obviously waiting on (and hoping for) that Federal handout to save them. No plan of action from anyone is going to change the mindset of the majority. Which begs the question, who are the true hypocrites in Jackson?

Anonymous said...

When Rome burned, Nero blamed the Christians (then an obscure religious sect) for the fire, and had many arrested and executed

Anonymous said...

Come on now cut baby chok some slack, he's just trying to hold on until King Bennie bites the dust and you fine folks can send him to DC where he can do more damage.

Anonymous said...

Jackson residents: "Well...why don't YOU tell us how to fix this?"

Me: "send water bills, collect money, use collected money for repairs"

Jackson residents: "C'mon, be serious. That is ridiculous."

Me: (crickets)

Anonymous said...

@2:18 I manage a water/sewer utility. Your post makes it sound very simple. And in actuality, it really is that simple. You know your expenses (employees, maintenance, debt service, vehicles, equipment, benefits, supplies, capital improvements, etc.). You use those expenses to calculate a rate so that you have proper revenue to offset those expenses. Then you charge that rate and make the people pay their dang bill. Let's be honest, it is a monopoly. Folks have to utilize your service. I know tons of business folks that would love to have a monopoly like utilities have.

Some of the problems are bad hiring practices (hiring based upon race, or friends of city leaders), accountability (get rid of those that don't perform, and pay those that do perform), focus (water and sewer are the only 2 things that should matter to a water/sewer department), leadership (they have none), and empathy/socialism (poor little Billy says he can't pay his water bill so we won't make him).

Anonymous said...

I've got some news for Donna Dolezal and JFP regarding white flight. Every one of my black friends has long ago left Jackson for the same reason my white friends did!

Anonymous said...

1146 - the 'outside consultant' that you refer to so elequoently - the same one that uses Marshan as a sub-contractor so that he can get his cut? How much experience and expertise doees Marshan have that will help address this massive failure of the city to manage a system (something every town in Mississippi has succeeded at, except of course, Jackson.)

And what, pray tell, does the Reservoir have to do with the failure of the system? Did it dry up sometime recently that we are all unaware of? Otherwise, all it does is supply the raw water into the treatment plant at the res, and the raw water into Pearl River for use at the OB Curtis plant. Other than that, the reservoir contributed nothing to the failure of the city's management of the treatment facility or the distribution of the water after it left.

The Captain said...

And the band played on.

I Tom You Tom We Tom said...

'It's not race. Lee tried to tell the truth and they tommed him.'

Of course 'tommed' is not a verb. But, assuming for the moment that it IS, please explain how 'to tom' is not race related. I'll wait.

Jackson's Sitch-E-A-Shun is 100% race based. Not political-party based. Not education based. Not unqualified employees based. Not neighborhood or 'who your people' based. Not voter-apathy based. Nope....100% race.

Anonymous said...

The Captain said...
And the band played on.

Picture, if you will, that certain Mayberry episode where Floyd assembled the town band to 'uniform up' and parade through the streets to impress the mayor. Now, imagine the sign that says 'Entering Mayberry' changing to 'Entering Jackson'. And the mayor on the street is suddenly Chokwe. Barney on cymbals.

Anonymous said...

12:05 , we don’t disagree but Brown was gerrymandered out of the legislature. Both sides of the aisle relied on this forensic accountant’s numbers but that didn’t protect him. Hood is gone too.
You proved my point that partisan politics erases competence and experience.

Today, timelines, facts and the math lose to inflaming prejudices and fear.

Being a politicians son didn’t help our current mayor gain management experience in government. Indeed, his relationship to his father has been more the albatross. He’s on a painful learning curve.

I don’t know what you or others expected. I’m just glad he’s well educated and has an above average IQ and shows some signs of attempting to learn the “ ropes” including trying to find those with the skills to help him identify political BS and who is or isn’t competent at their jobs or telling him the truth.

You want Stokes? You think Cindy Hyde Smith is has a prayer in hell of being more than a puppet? Greene isn’t an embarrassment or Gaetz and their duplicates in MS? Tate’s assumption of MS immunity isn’t to make himself look better? He doesn’t know why Trump got vaccinated even though he had CV 19? Really?

I’m sick of both parties defend the indefensible when both need to see the “ smote” in their own eye. Whether it’s the Dems or GOP, the few in both parties who have a plan to solve problems that they can discuss in details are few and being shouted down. The young smart, attractive physically but ignorant and / or lazy aren’t being “ schooled in either party. They are money raisers .

Jimmy B said...

No running water - Re-elected with 70% of the vote. Who cares about that cesspool of a city. Why does JJ continue to cover this . If they don't care we don't care.

Millennial said...

1:53. Where the hell is Mayberry? Who is Floyd and Barney?

The Captain said...

We have a brand-new "comprehensive" plan to rearrange the chairs on the deck. The new seating arrangement will be "inclusive". Iceberg? What iceberg?

Anonymous said...

... but Brown was gerrymandered out of the legislature.

Absolute CRAP. Cecil Brown willingly chose not to run.

Anonymous said...

June 24, 2021 at 8:29 AM

YYYaaaawwwnnnn, SSssssnnnooorreeee, ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz

Anonymous said...

The city of Jackson gets it's water from the Barnett Reservoir. In a study conducted be MDEQ, it was determined that the water pipe failures in Jackson were the result of the extreme temperature difference between water coming into the system from the reservoir (during severe cold) and the water already in the system. This temperature difference resulted in the pipes cracking and failing. It was previously believed the pipe failures were the result of Yazoo Clay movement.

Anonymous said...

In a study conducted be MDEQ, it was determined that the water pipe failures in Jackson were the result of the extreme temperature difference between water coming into the system from the reservoir (during severe cold) and the water already in the system.

Link? Back it up.

The Press release said...

If we hadn't had that outbreak of global warming this past winter, there would be no problems with the city of Jackson water system. This same outbreak of warming contributed to the rising crime rate, a major uptick in potholes, and diarrhea of the mouth some city officials have been experiencing. Since the state, or federal government had not taken the bait to offer funding, it was thought that U.N. funds would be applied for to ease the burden. "I'm sure we are on equal footing with other third-world entities for funding," an anonymous source has said.

Anonymous said...

@10:02a- Did you mean... led to “the already dilapidated ” pipes cracking and failing?

So, let me get this straight.... extreme weather, that may or may not happen once per year, that may bring in cold water from the Rez is now the cause of the water infrastructure of Jackson failing for years.?? If this is the findings of the white lady referenced above, she just lost my consideration for having any sense or leadership skills.

This is just more excuses for more inaction.

Anonymous said...

@10:02 I'm not sure that is accurate. I think you are talking about State Geologist David Dockery who had discussed that theory in 2018. Mr. Dockery theorized that the colder water coming in (the Reservoir is shallow and therefore subject to wide variations in temperature throughout the year) was causing shrinkage in the steel pipes. That would lead to more leaks and/or breaks. Part of his hypothesis is that surrounding cities also had Yazoo Clay, but they didn't have the same issues as Jackson. This being because they had PVC pipes and used water from the aquifer, which is a more constant temperature.

Kingfish said...

There is no such report or study. I just checked with MDEQ.

In other words, the sumbitch lied.

Anonymous said...

Chowkey's apologists and spinners will believe and say anything.

Did you hear that state employees are purposely flushing the toilet two, three or more times each time they go?

Anonymous said...

I'm neither a liar or sumbitch and you talked to the wrong person at MDEQ. I've read the article but this is as close as I can find. It references the article and explains the study.

Anonymous said...

The below link is what the poster mentioned on the MDEQ study. It is not an MDEQ study. It is a theory by a geologist. Read the article in the link. It is a few years old.

Kingfish said...

I spoke to the Director.

Bill Nye the science guy said...

I just want to state for the record that it was an iceberg that caused the problems with the city of Jackson's water system. That ridiculous conspiracy theory accusing the present city of Jackson's administration was started by Qanon and various other cells of Trump supporters.

Anonymous said...

It's all about leadership. I wonder when the EPA will come in and take over the operation of Jackson's water system.

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