PINE BLUFF, Ark. – Pine Bluff is one of the towns that has been hardest hit by water issues since last week’s historic winter storm, and on Tuesday the top lawmaker in Arkansas met with city officials to look for answers.
Governor Asa Hutchinson met with city leaders and manager with Liberty Utility as the water company continues to try and restore water service.
Mayor Shirley M. Washington called the growing water issue in Pine Bluff a “catastrophic situation,” saying some residents have not been able to take showers because the water pressure is so low.
Jefferson Regional Medical Center has been forced to cancel non-emergency surgeries and ask patients to use medical waste bags instead of toilets.
Students at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff are displaced, with some of them now staying in Little Rock. There are two water buffalos in Jefferson County supplying as much water as possible.
Officials with Liberty Utilities say they have found some leaks, but the low-pressure issues continue in Pine Bluff.
“My biggest concern is that Liberty advises they have been able to find leaks within a couple days in other places, but here we are three or four days into it and have not identified the significant leaks in the system,” Hutchinson said during the meeting, calling the issue a significant problem.
Hutchinson said it’s unclear yet if the water problem is enough for a federal disaster declaration, or if the state will be able to help get Pine Bluff Back flowing.