Water pressure in the City of Greenville is still not as powerful as it should be.
As of Friday, average water pressure for the City of Greenville was measured at 59 to 60 pounds per square inch (psi) according to public works deputy director Ronnie Washington.
He said 65 psi would be the ideal measurement, as it would be enough to pressurize throughout the city, ensuring that everyone has an adequate amount of water.
However, measurements have increased since Tuesday’s reported psi of 55 and the current measurement is on par with the city’s usual average.
“We’re gradually moving up on psi and we started to chlorinate today, so we’re getting a pretty good residual system to start collecting some samples,” Washington told the council during their regular Tuesday meeting.
On Friday, Washington shared that the city’s first set of samples tested by the Mississippi Department of Health (MDH) yielded good results.
“Now, they’re testing the second set and we’re just waiting on a response for that set. We should have something by today or maybe tomorrow,” he said.
Joined by the city’s consulting engineers and public works director Jermaine Thornton, the council listened to further updates and took in the most recent developments regarding the city’s water situation.
“What can we do to get the boil water notice lifted sooner?”
Mayor Errick Simmons asked the question that several Greenville residents, businesses and industrial stakeholders are hoping to have answered.
Washington County Economic Alliance executive director Will Coppage also informed the council of concerns shared among local industry and business leaders as it pertains to water pressure and the current boil water notice.
He highlighted MARS’ not being in operation as well as Producer’s Rice’s sudden loss of water pressure on Tuesday evening.
Corresponding frequently with those leaders in the last week, he inquired about their production, operation and current needs.
Speaking on their behalf, he said, “Our industries are not at full capacity right now for a multitude of reasons, whether that be our food production type industries because of the boil water notice and because of the pressure. Obviously there’s some frustration and they understand that this is an emergency situation.”
He noted that while those industry leaders commend the city leaders and crews for their efforts to mitigate the water issues and keep them abreast, they seek an open and clear line of communication with the city and assurances that can quickly resolve such issues going forward.
“I think we did wonderful getting that information out, that’s kind of their biggest concern, but they are looking for an update and trying to understand when that pressure will be restored,” Coppage added.
Holding a meeting of those essential stakeholders was also a suggestion made by Coppage as he pointed out that some of those affected companies are in talks of expansion possibilities and such impacts are documented in their reports.
Consulting engineer Darrell Martinek explained the difference between a state sanctioned boil water advisory and a city sanctioned boil water advisory.
If the state issues the advisory, there has to be two consecutive days of samples, passing the test, for the advisory to be lifted.
If issued by the city, only one round of samples is required.
Milton Kearney, water operator of record, conducts the tests.
“It’s a very sensitive test,” Martinek pointed out. “Milton (Kearney) is very methodical in the way he takes the tests, so I have every level of confidence in the way he samples it to make sure that the sampling is correct.”
He added that it usually takes 48 hours after the samples are dropped off to MDH before results are given.
Simmons offered further assurance that everything “humanly and practically possible” is being done to expedite the process.
Consulting engineer Justin Haydel responded to an inquiry of what yielded the boil water advisory.
He explained that water system pressure dropped below 20 psi and when that happens, it is mandatory to issue an advisory.
Councilman Al Brock agreed with Coppage’s point in that a community discussion or a forum of some sort with industry leaders should be had along with a serious evaluation of the city’s water systems.
He said the general perception and assumption in the Greenville community presently is that the issues brought on by the winter storm were a result of something the city did or failed to do, which is not his belief.
“We’ve got to dispel that to whatever degree that is true,” he added.