Tuesday, September 6, 2022


Jackson's water treatment plants continued to implode as a stream of workers quit while those who remained worked to exhaustion.   A team of EPA and Mississippi State Department of Health representatives inspected the water treatment plants in March and reported their abysmal findings in July.  JJ obtained a copy of the report through a public records request.  It is posted below.

The report shows more of the same dismal picture presented in the March 2020 emergency administrative order.  Staffing problems still plagued the O.B. Curtis water treatment plant despite Lumumba administration assurances it was addressing the problem.   The EPA reported: 

There are insufficient operators to consistently staff three shifts, seven days per week. Staff are unable to take time off without forcing remaining staff to work extra hours. Supervisors are working shifts in addition to their managerial responsibilities. Distribution system crews are sparsely staffed and are unable to conduct preventive maintenance.

B. Operator turnover is high. Operators indicated instances of working up to 75 hours per week without receiving overtime pay.

1) The City Council approved salary increases for treatment plant operators in November 2021.

2) No salary increases for maintenance technicians, instrument technicians, or distribution system staff have been implemented to date, coinciding with a loss of staff in these roles.

D. The utility does not have adequate plant and distribution system staff to perform preventative maintenance that could reduce overall operational costs of the system.

 However, the staffing problems are not the worst of it.  Harvey Johnson's time bomb continues to detonate as his Siemens project continues to cripple public works finances.  It takes money to hire staff and unfortunately, money is rather lacking thanks to the former Mayor and his good ole boys:

5. Plant administrators indicated that malfunctioning water meters have contributed to a 32 percent decrease in revenue since 2016. While meters are currently being replaced, there is uncertainty about whether the new meters will be capable of communicating with the billing system.

A. COJ explained to EFC staff that the City’s billing system and meter replacement project may take 18 months to complete. At the time of the EFC Kick-off meeting in March of 2022, approximately 14,000 bills were recently “stranded” (i.e., not sent to/received by customers).

B. COJ reported to the EFC that non-revenue water is ~50 percent; it is unclear how much is due to meter issues or water loss.

C. Due to problems with the billing system, COJ was unable to provide a complete list of cus-tomers at the time of the visit. COJ explained that some customers were not receiving bills, others were receiving large bills, solid waste charges were not being included as they should be, etc. The COJ cannot currently calculate its collection rate. This is not expected to be resolved until late 2024.

Read that last sentence again.  The Lumumba administration says collection and billing problems will not be fixed until the end of 2024, over two years from now! Billing problems blew up the funding for Jackson's water/sewer system over the last few years as the system plunged from a $7 million a year profit to losing nearly $20 million a year.  

EPA contracted with Environmental Finance Center at the School of Government at the University of North Carolina to perform a financial review of Jackson's water and sewer enterprise fund. 

Unfortunately, these are not the only problems mentioned in the report. The city suffers 55 water line breaks per 100 miles of line per year for the last five years.  EPA's recommended goal is 15 such breaks a year and Jackson stayed close to this metric as it endured only 19 water line breaks in 2017.  However, the breaks skyrocketed to 70 in 2018 and 2019.  They fell to 59 in 2021 but are still triple what they were just four years earlier.  The North Jackson and Seneca Street areas suffer the most breaks because they use pre-1910 cast iron pipe.  (See pages 17-18 for map.).  

The EPA also said the city does not collect pressure data nor does it perform routine flushing of the lines.  Storage tanks are cycled infrequently since early 2021.  An average turnover time of 5 days will keep an adequate level of chlorine in the system.  Unfortunately, some tanks had over 40 days of turnover time such as Forest (42), Mill Street (47), and Cedar Hills (51).  See Table 1 (p.20).  

The report did include a bit of good news.  Complaints of discolored water fell in recent years.  Odor complaint increased since 2016 every month.  

pH? Remember pH?  The EPA said water at both plants was frequently outside of the recommended pH of 9.0 to 9.5 from March 2021 to February 2022. 

The EPA issued several technical recommendations (p. 12) to improve the system. 



Anonymous said...

You are like a 9/11 truther or holocaust denier who is constantly posting overly complicated infographics on the social media! Nobody cares about your unhinged conspiracy theories! The consensus is that this was caused by systemic racism and institutional white supremacy!

Anonymous said...

It appears that the State of Mississippi will now be paying for the operations of the COJ water treatment plants. Tate can't just walk away after resolving the immediate problems. No qualified operators will work for the COJ, so what now Tate?
The mayor got someone else to deal with the water problem, just what he wanted all along. At some point the federal government will give the COJ a few billion dollars for infrastructure repairs. Most of that money will be stolen by the mayors group of thieves and the citizens will still be left with water and sewer issues. They have only themselves to blame because the mayor will be overwhelmingly re-elected, as he is now a hero to the radical left and most of the citizens of Jackson.

Anonymous said...

This is just further evidence why the media of Jackson and our elected officials need to publicly back the courageous call for the Mayor’s resignation by the Editor of the Northside Sun!

Anonymous said...

"Operator Turnover" - Maybe that is the "white flight" that the MSM is talking about, right?

Anonymous said...

In normal times, there would be mass resignations in the Lumumba camp. This is a complete failure. The next mayoral campaign should focus on ICE: Infrastructure, Crime, Education. Nothing outside those three things should even be debated.

Anonymous said...

Thank god the EPA has been involved for a while. Otherwise people might fall for the narrative jackson is pushing.

Anonymous said...

Once they can get the pressure up and supply clean drinking water to their customers, they need to establish an average monthly usage for residential, and enforce the payments otherwise, risking cut off. Businesses will be somewhat more complex as it would vary so but I think they could arrive at a fair number. Lack of revenue is likely the cause of many if not most of the problem with maintenance and repairs. Once this crisis is over, a strategic plan must be developed to treat the most critical issues and work down the list as soon as possible. Not sure the city is capable of producing a plan as Bennis has been asking for one for some time. Looks like state, MEMA and FEMA need to make that plan and force the city to do it, or else! Just my opinion.

Anonymous said...

No, what the mayor wanted all along was a billion dollar check so he and his people could fix it. We know how that would work out.

Don Drane said...

Under the regulations imposed by the Wage and Hour Administration of the DOL, it is illegal for a supervisor (exempt employee) to be paid an hourly rate for hours worked in excess of his standard time. When that's done, the supervisor (exempt employee) will/should/could lose his exempt status and can and should demand an hourly rate plus overtime for all hours worked. (In doing that, he relinquishes his supervisory exemption.)

None of the 'reports' or 'findings' indicate (here) how the supervisor was paid (if at all) for working a shift to cover vacancies. Nor is there any indication (beyond what an employee said) as to how overtime was figured, if at all, for hourly workers. It's also illegal, in this situation, to not compensate hourly employees for all hours worked in accordance with DOL regulations.

An employment-law attorney should be consulted for the entire, affected workforce. DOL should investigate.

I'll admit to being retired and a little rusty...so will acknowledge correction.

{I remain baffled as to not only why the mayor would ruin the morale of the Police Department, but would do the same with THIS group of workers.}

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

“uncertainty about whether the new meters will be capable of communicating with the billing system” .. but we need to get this show on the road, so let’s cross our fingers and hope for the best.

Anonymous said...

You can't fix stupid-

Anonymous said...

Imagine being so poor that you have to finance a used car but you come here and talk shit about your superiors.

Anonymous said...

Don't Care !

As Kamala and Barack said "elections have consequences."

Enjoy your consequences.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Fish:
I know that you appreciate appropriate movie quotes. . .

"My God, the incompetence here is absolutely radiant!"

-- The Hospital 1971. Directed by Arthur Hiller, written by Paddy Chayefsky, starring, among others, George C. Scott.

Anonymous said...

2024 uh? Like why hasn't the water system reverted to a manual billing system like the good ol days? Read the damn meters, Send out a bill, Collect money to stop the bleeding. Viola! Could be up and running by someone who actually desires to work and fix problems in 6 months.

Anonymous said...

And meanwhile on the Today show this morning, they were still reporting the water failure in Jackson was due to flooding in the city.

Anonymous said...

Credit where credit is due? The city administration has for years squandered money on all manner of meaningless things (trips to Europe, etc) instead of using those funds to maintain or repair the water supply system.. once the system completely failed the media jumped on board with the city and blamed the State, accusing the State of “RACISM”,( the common buzz term meaning we want something for nothing) and the State and Federal government come in and fix the problem that was created by the mismanagement by the City. Just getting over on “Old Whitey” one more time.

Anonymous said...

The State saved Hizzoners knee caps, at least for now. how's that Richards thing going?

Anonymous said...

This is excellent, fact based, reporting. You won't see this type of work by Donna Ladd and her bunch. KF has done a great job at searching for the real truth.

Anonymous said...

The blame game is not an effective tool for a decades old water debacle.

It’s useful to know the size and scope of the problem for sure.

Only a complete overhaul of the entire system will insure safe potable water for the recipients of the services.

Jackson doesn’t have that kind of money and never has had it.

Neighborhoods need to band together and build wells and figure out how to remove themselves from the water system I suppose.

All the hospitals have their own wells so it stands to reason that’s the next step for some.

It’s time said...

The major needs to resign

Anonymous said...

8:37, it won't do a bit of good, for him to resign. Those who have coached him - who have masterminded the DEMOLITION BY NEGLECT of Jackson's infrastructure, will not be going away (and really, that's a simplification, since neglect is only one facet of the multivalent strategy).

This latest piece by Kingfish, leaves no doubt that this "crisis" was nurtured... created... shielded from effective intervention... deliberately - probably to serve more than one end. The millions in potential rakeoff from anticipated monies, are only REWARDS - a way of paying the players. There is a bigger picture, and a bigger end goal. And Jackson is only one small piece of the total picture.

Anonymous said...

10:23 AM, you're not impressed that the Emperor is taking 7 1/2 years to fix the billing system and collect receivables? Remember, this is the candidate back in 2017 who said he, by virtue of being in close proximity to Chokwe Sr., would be ready for the job on Day 1.

Anonymous said...

Lumumba can't manage his way out of a paper bag but he sure is managing to grow that waistline quickly. Must be Melvin's influence.

Anonymous said...

The major news and even the local stations are throwing the systemic racism crap around like a caged monkey on meth. Why should Hizzoner quit? The only way that will happen is if there is a mob of people on the city hall steps. Think about it, only about 16,000 of all eligible voters voted. When you read other pages and the good citizens of Jackistan posting are all about it's Tater tots fault and Whitey is keeping the good honest black and brown citizens down by making them drink out of the segregated water fountain. Yeah, him quitting, that will be the day.

Anonymous said...

@11:03 AM
Drilling more wells into the aquifer below Jackson isn’t sustainable.

Anonymous said...

I can’t shake my anxiety about the stops Lumumba will pull out to fight for every last crumb of control. I found this in his April rant to MS Today about the state’s “duplicity” and “paternalistic, racist” treatment of Jackson:

“And I think that now it’s time to raise the question of whether Jackson has an equal protection claim against the state of Mississippi…”

He’s prob drafting his federal lawsuit as we speak.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest everyone try to understand what the Siemans meter fiasco meant. One of my meters didn't read anything...it never worked at all. The one that functioned clearly was inaccurate and inconsistent. Most often my usage was at first impossibly high and at the end, impossibly low.
So the city attempted to average from past usage, but no doubt some users didn't have a long enough time line make that useful.

I also suggest you look at what the city budget was at that point in time. Do try to remember that both sewer breaks and repairing streets was a demand that we read on this very site quite frequently.

Critical also is an understanding of how federal and State and county funds are allocated and who controls disbursing those funds and how that has been done while the problems festered.

It is NOT EPA's job to do a forensic audit of Hinds County and the City. I would be delighted for the State Auditor to do that. I would also be equally pleased for the Federal government to do a forensic audit of all federal funds that come to the State.

Why anyone assumes that the same folks who allowed the New/Favre scandal are the angels and all mistaken policy decisions innocent and all those same decision in Jackson are made by corrupt devils is beyond reason!

Anonymous said...

I note the complete absence of turbids. Maybe they've migrated?

Anonymous said...

Damn good reporting. This is Journalism.

Anonymous said...

But what will the EPA do about the city's failure to comply with the water & sewer consent decree or regulatory compliance orders & findings? EPA can fine the city but that's no big deal since the city wouldn't pay up. What's the downside to the city if it continues to sit on its butt?

Anonymous said...

"In normal times, there would be mass resignations in the Lumumba camp."

Hell, the City's Director of Personnel Management was on Nextdoor actively offering excuse after excuse for her failures to hire staff at the water plant. She or anybody else in this administration is going to milk the government teat for as loan as they can. After all, they could never get jobs in the real world or they would have already left.

Anonymous said...

Donna and her crew are busy trying to milk this crisis as a platform for her ravings about white supremacy, systemic racism and growing up in segregated Mississippi for all of her fellow travelers in the media. Very little attempts at real impartial journalism on her part, its all about getting her voice amplified to reach as many sympathetic ears as will listen. She just can't bring herself to criticize black leadership, even when it is deserved (except for the late Mayor Melton, but she saw him as a tool of the WPS, so that exempted him from getting the kid gloves treatment she gave "Junior").

This whole media narrative is doing a disservice to people in Jackson who have long suffered the consequences of incompetent leadership by Lumumba and his predecessors.

Kingfish said...

I haven't kept up with her remarks but keep in mind she was joined at the hip with Harvey. Harvey could do no wrong. Truth is, Harvey was one of the worst mayors Jackson had and he left many ticking time bombs. The Siemens deal blew up the water/sewer finances but that will not be mentioned because it was Harvey's fault. Don't forget his crooked 2010 water/sewer bond refinance for $30 million. It saddled the Lumumba administration with an extra $3-5 million in interest paid on the bonds. All brought to you by the Porter Bingham crew.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Chowke Lumbubbles - America's next billionaire.

Anonymous said...

1141 is correct thus the reason for surface water(Curtis plant) not wells!

Anonymous said...

When you have people that are clueless, that have never managed anything, that would include balancing a checkbook, to suddenly be responsible for the operation of a city, what did you expect?

For those that rode the short bus, we're talking about the mayor.

Those are the people at the top. The ultimate decision makers. Those appointed by these decision makers, had no experience in the day-to-day operations of a city.

The advisers, those handpicked to lend their expertise for guidance, had no real life expertise to lend.

What the mayor had was a paper from a prestigious academic institution stating, that individual had fulfilled the requirements to obtain that paper. That paper in noway prepared him to run a city.

He was educated, but not very intelligent. For, if he had indeed been intelligent, he would have sought out, and hired someone with experience to run the city. An intelligent person understands the limits of their abilities.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the target dates fall right at the end of Lumumba’s second term.

Anonymous said...

From Mississippi Today:

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson said the state bears some blame for neglecting Jackson for decades, but if the capital city cannot properly run its water system, “I would not be in favor of the city being given back the authority to run it.”

“Because it doesn’t make sense,” Thompson said in an exclusive interview on Friday with Mississippi Today for its “The Other Side” podcast about the continuing water crisis in Jackson. “Those negotiations (about long-term solutions) have to be fair. They have to include the owners of the system. But we want a system that meets federal and state regulations. Now if we see that Jackson can’t do it, then obviously we have to look at an alternative.”


Democrats are almost perfect people that never do any wrong - except when they wrong another Democrat - so Benny had to blame the state (whitey) but sounds like the EPA may be making it clear the incompetent Mayor et al should not be "given back the authority to run it” i.e. the system must meet "federal and state regulations."

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know the number of new positions that have been created by the mayor's administration since he took office? And the pay for those new positions?

Anonymous said...

“You are like a 9/11 truther or holocaust denier who is constantly posting overly complicated infographics on the social media! Nobody cares about your unhinged conspiracy theories! The consensus is that this was caused by systemic racism and institutional white supremacy!” That is the conspiracy theory! Problem is it’s been told for the truth! I hope my grandchildren will not have to deal with these constant battles of blaming and not fixing!

Anonymous said...

I don't think the mayor is smart enough to have figured out how to benefit personally from allowing Jackson's systems (health, water, interdepartmental teamwork, black and white together, police) to all fail. He's just NOT.

And this 'perfect storm' of 'unexpected consequences' cannot have simply fallen in his lap. So, how is this possible?

Hunter Biden is a genius. Chokwe Lumumba ain't no Hunter Biden. The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubt, while the stupid people are full of confidence. Lumumba presents himself as full of confidence.

Anonymous said...

“The consensus is that this was caused by systemic racism and institutional white supremacy!”

I don’t think that was the consensus of the EPA team. But what do they know. They never took a class from Dr. Omari.

Anonymous said...

8:13am, you say that “The consensus is that this was caused by systemic racism and white supremacy.”
The consensus of whom ? The leftist propagandists ? Other than Joy Reid, who is an unabashed raving racist herself, I’ve not heard anyone in the media say that this was caused by racism and white supremacy. All they’ve done is let the Mayor say that but yet not asked him a single question about the basis for that statement by him. None have asked him about the lack of billing or collecting, which resulted in the city not having the money for adequate staffing or the routine maintenance as required and needed. Nor have they asked him what he has done to make the necessary repairs knowing full well they were needed and going to cause a collapse of the plant. Nor have they asked him what he has done to immediately hire more staff. Nor have they asked him about all the loan and grant money the state previously offered the city. The list of questions not asked goes on and on.

Could the state have jumped in and taken control sooner ? Probably. But yet this whole problem started with the city taking no good faith action to fix its own problems which it created. The city should have been the “first resort” but failed miserably to do its job. The state intervention was the “last resort” when it was blatantly obvious that the city was not even trying. Why do you want immediately blame the state for the city’s failure when it’s the city’s responsibility and yet place no blame on the city at all?

Anonymous said...

1:38, what if we have a prolonged drought such as the state had in 1936 and 1937? Will the Pearl feed enough water to the Rez to sustain the current water usage of Jackson? I think not. A combination of both surface water and wells needs to stay in place. I would much rather get my water from a well since some of the high end homes at the Rez have been caught with sewer emptying into it.

Anonymous said...

Tell me where the money to pay for qualified operators was?

You do know surely, that State and Federal dollars come with strings about how the dollars can be spent. Getting a " square " job to fit the legal description of a " round" job takes a lot of creativity and a group effort if possible at all.

First start with the source of revenue and then follow it's trail. Until that's done, it's premature to cast blame for inadequate staffing.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

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