Mississippi capital to hire emergency water plant workers

Nov 10, 2022, 3:12 AM | Updated: 5:14 pm

FILE - This is an aerial view of of the City of Jackson's O.B. Curtis Water Plant in Ridgeland, Mis...

FILE - This is an aerial view of of the City of Jackson's O.B. Curtis Water Plant in Ridgeland, Miss., on Sept. 1, 2022. Local officials in Mississippi's capital city, where a late summer water crisis upended life for 150,00 people, approved an emergency plan Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022, to increase staffing at the city's two water treatment plants. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

(AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — Local officials in Mississippi’s capital city, where a late summer water crisis upended life for 150,00 people, have approved an emergency plan to increase staffing at the city’s two water treatment plants.

Jackson city council members voted Thursday to hire contract workers from a Los Angeles-based company to staff the O.B. Curtis and J.H. Fewell water treatment plants, tanks and well facilities. Under the agreement, WaterTalent LLC will provide the city with four skilled water operators to help beef up paltry staffing at the two treatment facilities.

Jackson currently has two operators licensed at the Class A level, who have a degree of technical expertise that can take years to acquire. City leaders said that the two operators have been working more than 80 hours a week to produce clean water at the plants.

“We’re still relying on the same operators who are working long, long, long hours and long shifts,” said Ted Henifin, a consultant working with the city council. “So, we identified this company, and they recruit these folks and have them on standby, essentially licensed operators, that are willing to deploy for some emergency periods, and we’ve gotten a proposal from them.”

The workers will be paid around $40 per hour. The agreement will be in place until the city hires a long-term contractor, WLBT-TV reported. The new operators will report to Jackson on Sunday, November 13.

Jackson’s water system has been beset by problems for decades, but the latest troubles began in late August after heavy rainfall exacerbated problems at the O.B. Curtis plant, leaving many customers without running water. State and federal officials surged resources to the area after emergency orders were declared by Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves and President Joe Biden.

Reeves said the state of emergency he declared on Aug. 30 would remain in place until Nov. 22. City officials are attempting to reach an agreement with a private firm to operate Jackson’s water system over the long term. Until then, extra staffing will ease the burden on city workers, local officials said.

“The big piece of this is it also allows (operators) not to have to work 70 to 80 hours a week,” Henifin said. “They’re actually going to get some of their life back, which I think they would all like at this point in time.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - A person shows their scan card for their personal selection numbers for a ticket for a Power...

L.B. Gilbert

$1.2 billion Powerball drawing nears after 11 weeks without a winner

A $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot will again be up for grabs Wednesday night after an 11-week stretch without a big winner

4 hours ago

FILE - A man walks through wildfire wreckage in Lahaina, Hawaii, Aug. 11, 2023. Federal authorities...

Associated Press

Cleanup from Maui fires complicated by island’s logistical challenges, cultural significance

Cleanup of areas destroyed in the Maui wildfires could end up being one of the most complex to date, federal officials said, given the island's significant cultural sites, its rich history including a royal residence and possibly remains of people who died in the disaster.

11 hours ago

Former President Donald Trump sits in the courtroom at New York Supreme Court, Monday, Oct. 2, 2023...


New York judge issues limited gag order after Trump makes disparaging post about court clerk

A New York judge imposed a limited gag order on defendant Donald Trump Tuesday after the former president disparaged a key court staffer during his civil business fraud trial.

1 day ago

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks during the introduction of the integration of Microsoft Bing sea...

Suman Naishadham, Associated Press

Microsoft CEO says unfair practices by Google led to its dominance as a search engine

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Monday that unfair tactics used by Google led to its dominance as a search engine, tactics that in turn have thwarted his company’s rival program, Bing.

1 day ago

This undated photo provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Portland Field Office shows a ...

Associated Press

Man accused of kidnapping Seattle woman, kidnapping charges in separate case

A man accused of abducting a woman in Seattle, driving her hundreds of miles to his home in Oregon and locking her in a makeshift cinder block cell 

2 days ago

A person browses offerings in the Raven's Nest Treasure shop in Pike Place Market, Dec. 10, 2021, i...

Associated Press

Man who faked Native American heritage to sell his art in Seattle sentenced to probation

A Washington state man who falsely claimed Native American heritage to sell his artwork at downtown Seattle galleries was sentenced Wednesday to federal probation and community service.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

Mississippi capital to hire emergency water plant workers