||Jefferson County Sheriff Lafayette Woods Jr., who is a member of the task force formed to examine water pressure problems provided Deltaplex News this update on the state of the investigation.
“The City of Pine Bluff along with Jefferson County and other officials and stakeholders have been conducting daily meetings with Liberty Utilities in an effort to gain updates on what actions the company is taking to resolve the issue of low water pressure in the city.
The first meeting was held yesterday, February 21st at 6 p.m., and the following updates were provided:
- The company has not yet found the issue although it is known that millions of gallons of water are being lost through unlocated major leaks.
- Plant 1 is operating at 12.2 PSI, Plant 2 (located on 28th near Foodwise) is operating at 32.9 PSI, and Plant 3 (located in Industrial Park) is operating 22.1 PSI. Full capacity is 50 to 60 PSI.
- The company has been able to maintain positive pressure, avoiding a boil order advisory event.
- 110 residential leaks worked.
- 24 Liberty employees are on the ground working, checking for leaks and pressure.
- Working on an active plan to separate Plant 2 from Plants 1 and 3 so that the pressure can increase. The main focus for Plant 2 is getting more pressure to the hospital (JRMC).
- There are 2 filter systems at Plant 1 to fight iron and manganese in water. Filter systems have been down for a while (months). The process for maintenance on filters began several weeks ago. Hopes to see a pressure increase once active. Hopes to have them in service sometime Tuesday.
- On Friday, February 19th, Liberty found that a 16-inch pipe had split. They have worked on the pipe and it is not losing much water at all now. It is not the cause of the low pressure.
- Restoration will occur as soon as major leaks are found. The company will make timely investments into the infrastructure.
- The company will make better efforts at communicating with the public, making everyone aware of what’s occurring
As of this morning, the following updates have been provided:
- Two leaks were reported last night. Crews began investigating. Crews are conducting Fluoride trace analysis to determine if it’s water we produced. Once confirmed, crews will trace back to the source and begin repairs.
What’s happening today
- Water samples from Plant One filters to the health department for expedited testing first thing this morning
- Meter readers will be pinging meters so that we can analyze meter data to help identify customer usage trend
- Teams will continue to canvass the Pine Bluff community searching for waterline breaks
- Logistics planning for additional Liberty personnel to join the recovery efforts underway
- Continued coordination with Pine Bluff Wastewater Utility and local agencies for assistance
- Water production segmentation at Plant 2 underway in an effort to improve water pressures at Jefferson Regional Medical Center
- Outreach underway to organizations mentioned during last night’s call to understand operational needs – Dialysis Center, UAPB, Correctional Facilities
- Water pressures at plants as of 7:45 a.m., 2-22-2021
- Plant 1: 14.1 PSI
- Plant 2: 36.8 PSI
- Plant 3: 22.2 PSI
- 24 Liberty operations team members on site and working in the community
- Total number of leaks / breaks found to date:
- 110 residences (These are not Liberty systems, but customer-owned pipes. Once reported, we shut of the meter to stop the flow of water and allow customers to begin repairs).
- 5 fire protection services in vacant buildings
- 2 new leaks under investigation (see bullet above under what’s new)
- Current water production level: 13.752 million gallons (typical for this time of year is 7 to 9 million gallons)
All resources have been made available throughout the city and the county to assist Liberty with resolving this issue. We will continue to provide updated information as it is received.