The city of Byram is continuing efforts to provide clean water for its residents, with Mayor Richard White offering Mississippi’s capital city $5 million to buy out its current water contract.
For decades, Byram has relied on Jackson to supply water for over 10,000 individuals located within the town, with the majority of residents experiencing the countless failures of the two water treatment plants along with those living in the capital city.
Since first taking the position as the mayor of Byram in 2013, White has repeatedly expressed his frustrations with Jackson’s ongoing water issues and how it has affected the residents and businesses in its neighboring communities.
In late February, White released plans to create several independent wells and one tank within Byram’s own city limits, stating that he has had little to no response from Jackson officials and Ted Henifin about making repairs to leaks in the pipes.
“The main thing we’re doing right now is talking to a guy that knows, and he works for the engineering company that is going to locate the water for us,” White said. “We want to make sure we have good water and we’ll have an abundance of it, and we hope that we won’t have to put a bunch of chemicals in it.”
Henifin, who was appointed by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District in late November, is currently serving as Jackson’s interim third-party manager for the water system. Henifin has since designated Jacobs Solutions to be the operator in charge of maintaining the city’s water facilities for the next six months.
White explained that the decision came as Byram has been subject to countless boil water notices throughout the years, including one that lasted 48 consecutive days before the complete failure at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility less than one year ago.
“Jackson was not committing to the future because they should have put wells down in our area. All they had to do is put them in and you wouldn’t have a fraction of the people being out of water anytime,” White stated. “I’m not saying anyone in particular, but they just let it sit.”
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba has released that capital city officials have not considered White’s negotiation at this time.