agency drills water well in case of another crisis - - Jackson, MS

State agency drills water well in case of another crisis

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By Monica Hernandez - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Twice this year, water problems in Jackson prompted states of emergency and shut down businesses, government, and schools.

 In January, state agencies like MDOT had to rely on tanker trucks for water.

"We had to end up sending folks home for a week for the first one," said Mark Taylor, deputy director of general services for MDOT.

Now, MDOT has a back up plan. It is building it's own water well in case of another water crisis. It will feed into the neighboring Woolfolk building, which will provide water for heating and cooling in the Sillers Building, the new justice building, and the state capitol in case of an emergency.

"I think by what we're doing, we're doing the best thing for the state of Mississippi. That's what we need to do, we need to be fully operation at all times" said Taylor.

Baptist Health Care is also looking into building a well. It's in the testing stages right now, but a spokesman said Baptist hopes to one day be independent from Jackson's water system.

AT & T on Pearl Street also looked into building it's own well as a back-up system in a water crisis, but decided to go with another system designed to keep it's building cool.

"I wish it wasn't necessary that these agencies have back-up water systems. I wish they could depend on Jackson water, but they can't. So it's necessary to have them," said Jackson city councilman Jeff Weill

According to Weill, it would cost tens of millions of dollars to replace Jackson's hundred year old pipes, money the city doesn't have.

City spokesman Chris Mims said in a statement, "We... continue to aggressively seek funding mechanisms to address the needs of both our water and sewer systems."

But Weill points out, the city hasn't received the $6 million in bonds for water infrastructure, as approved by the legislature, because it hasn't filed the standard bond application with MDA.

"There's a long-standing antagonism, for lack of a better word, between city government and the state legislature," said Weill.

Mims said the city contacted MDA regarding the application process.

While Mayor Harvey Johnson said not receiving the money from the Bond Commission was a slap in the face, Governor Haley Barbour said $6 million would not solve the city's infrastructure problems.

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