Starkville Daily News

Early start on spring flushing aims to reduce brown water

- For Starkville Daily News

Starkville Utilities has gotten a head start on spring cleaning by launching a systemwide flushing program to remove iron deposits in pipes that cause brown water.

Now in its third year, Starkville Utilities' annual flushing program has made a positive effect on water clarity.

“Annual flushing is an important part of our strategy to address water discolorat­ion and ensure that customers receive safe, reliable, clear water whenever they turn on their taps,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “We also flush the system in a manner that causes minimal impacts to water service.”

Despite localized issues with discolorat­ion, Starkville's water is safe to drink and fully complies with Mississipp­i Department of Health regulation­s as reinforced in Starkville Utilities' annual Drinking Water Quality Report.

Brown water is typically caused by iron and other minerals that build up inside pipes in older parts of the water system. Opening fire hydrants is the most common method to improve water clarity and works by accelerati­ng water flow to scour deposits from pipe linings.

When a customer reports brown water, personnel are dispatched to the location to sample for iron. If necessary, they open a nearby fire hydrant and flush the segment of piping until the water runs clear.

For the annual flushing program, crews start in a central area and work their way out until the entire system is flushed. Because the procedure can initially stir up sediment, flushing pipes in one area can temporaril­y affect water clarity in an adjoining part of the system. Starkville Utilities plans to complete the current cycle in mid-april.

In addition to flushing, ongoing infrastruc­ture upgrades have reduced occurrence­s of brown water along with routine maintenanc­e and chemical controls such as potassium manganate, a compound that prevents iron buildup in pipes.

Sediment build-up in water heaters also can discolor water. By regularly draining water heaters, customers can help eliminate brown water and extend the life of their plumbing fixtures.

“We have found that a combinatio­n of strategies is the most effective approach,” Kemp said. “Brown water is

from Columbus on Highway 82 when a car flew past him. As the car advanced ahead of him, the driver glanced over in his direction and suddenly the car's speed dropped precipitou­sly to match his own. As their vehicles were side-by-side on the highway, the driver, who happened to be Athelia, locked her eyes on Luckett, nodding her head, then pointing in his direction and afterward sped off.

That same day, she called Luckett to provide IT services for her practice and that began Luckett's 20-year relationsh­ip with her and the other Dr. Eze.

For Luckett, it was an honor that they chose him over all other IT profession­als to help with their systems.

“They could have hired anybody to help them with their IT. I don't know how many know this, but that was more than a million dollar facility they built on the hill over there on Stark Road, and they trusted me as their IT support,” said Luckett. “They are more than a client. They are mentors. They're heroes of mine. They are what black excellence looks like to me.”

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With him working in the background, Luckett says that's where you get a good look at people, and that is when he noticed how much the two doctors did for the people in the community.

“I've watched Athelia sit down with people who wanted to be pharmacist­s, and she would study with them. She would quiz them as they were doing whatever their work was and she was like, ‘You've got to be faster than that.' I mean, she was constantly pushing,” said Luckett. “This isn't just something that she did for the black community. If you were to come in and look at the pictures that are across the top of the pharmacy, you see guys, girls, black, white, anybody who she could help. I know personally that they paid for people's classes

and books for school, and they adopted children as their own. There were people who didn't have insurance, but they didn't care about that; they made sure to get the medicine for them … They deserve a place in the Starkville Hall of Fame for what they've done for the health, the medical wellbeing, the success and the empowermen­t of the black community in Starkville and Oktibbeha County.”

When Placid had the floor, he was just amazed by the support some of his closest friends and colleagues had for him and his wife.

“Wow, this is just incredible,” he said. “We really, really appreciate you all for being here and for putting on this special event for us. We never saw it coming and we really appreciate it.”

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