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$7.6M water improvement project underway

Posted on May 19, 2022

For Immediate Release
May 19, 2022
Mayor Lumumba heralds a project to improve water flow to residents 
(Jackson, Miss.) – Work crews are in the beginning phase of installing a massive 48-inch (4-foot diameter) water transmission line to help improve water flow to South Jackson and other neighborhoods in Jackson. The five-mile-long line will significantly increase flow to areas that have experienced low water pressure in the past, most notably during the extreme winter storm system of 2021. 
Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, along with members of his Public Works team and representatives from Neel-Schaffer, commented on the historic infrastructure project at a Thursday morning press conference. 
“Today is truly an exciting day as we announce efforts to improve water issues in our City, particularly to the residents in South Jackson,” Mayor Lumumba said. “This will improve the service for some of our residents who have suffered inequitably at the hands of our failing water system.” 
Although the project has been on the drawing board for years, Mayor Lumumba proposed the roughly $7.6 million project after the winter storm and after American Rescue Act funds (ARPA) were distributed. Portions of the project will be put in service as they are constructed with the overall project scheduled to be operational later this year. The improvements were designed to allow larger quantities of water to get to the distribution system at the J.H. Fewell Plant. Currently, the water travels through small-sized, older cast iron pipes and for a longer distance.
“I’m very excited for this project,” said Interim City Engineer Robert Lee. “It doesn’t solve everything but it is a major cog in the overall system reliability, redundancy, and improvement.” 
The last phase of construction will allow the 48-inch main to run from Interstate 20/Interstate 55 North to Jefferson and Silas Brown streets. This phase will complete the connection from the Fewell plant to Interstate 55 at McDowell Road, with connections at Poplar Street, Monroe Street, High Street, Amite Street, Pearl Street, Rankin Street, McDowell Road, and Interstate 55 frontage road. 
“In addition to South Jackson, this will also help Belhaven,” said Hibbett Neel with Neel-Schaffer. “It will really open up that entire area of the City with more water and more pressure. So it is extremely important.” 
The new line will benefit the following neighborhoods and areas:
  • Belhaven
  • Belhaven Heights
  • Eastern portions of downtown
  • South Jackson
  • I-55 south corridor
Mayor Lumumba ended his comments with a promise to continue to pursue infrastructure funds that will enable future projects. 
“I’d like to remind residents that we are in a continuing state of emergency because the systems we have are the systems we have until we replace them,” he said. “Our fight to secure funding in order to improve our drinking water situation continues.” 
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