Jackson, Miss., is in a water crisis due to a failed treatment plant


Mississippi’s governor has urged residents of Jackson, the state’s capital and largest city, not to drink water there – if they still have access to it – warning that running water will not be available soon as the city’s long-suffering treatment plant fails.

Governor Tate Reeves (right) said during an emergency briefing Monday night that the city will be without “widely reliable running water” for the foreseeable future.

At the news conference, officials said the exact date for resolving the situation was unclear, but Reeves said the state was ready to distribute alternative sources of water “for as long as we have to.” The agency’s executive director, Stephen C. McCranie, said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency had asked Reeves to mobilize the National Guard to help with distribution.

Jackson Public Schools She said that from Tuesday, all of her schools will switch to virtual learning due to the water crisis.

Until the situation is resolved, officials said, residents of the city of 150,000 should not drink the water or use it to cook or brush their teeth unless they first boil it. The situation is “totally different” from noticing boiling water, Reeves said, in which the same water will run out — leaving residents unable to flush their toilets.

“Please, stay safe. Don’t drink the water,” Reeves said. “In many cases, raw water from the tank is pushed out through pipes. be clever. protect yourself. Protect your family.”

There won’t be enough water to fight the fires, Reeves said, adding that this weekend the state began collecting alternative water sources, including for fighting the fires. He said separate sources of drinking water and non-potable water for flushing toilets will be distributed.

Providing these alternative sources for an indefinite period of time to tens of thousands of people is a “very complex logistical task,” he said.

Officials said Jackson had already been on boiling water notice for a month, with the main pumps at OB Curtis water treatment plant failing, and being replaced with smaller backup pumps. Reeves said poor staffing had complicated the situation. “A very small number of heroic front-line workers were trying very hard to keep the system together, but it was almost impossible” to avoid failure, he said.

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Reeves said he was told Friday that “there is no way to predict the exact time, but it is almost certain” that Jackson will not have running water.

“It was all praying that we would have more time before their system went into failure,” he said. “Unfortunately, that failure appears to have begun today.”

He appeared to partially blame Mayor Chukwe Antar Lumumba (D), saying that prior to Monday, the city had not been able to provide the state with a timetable for when the plant would be in “proper” operating condition. Lumumba, who was elected to a second term last year, did not attend the press conference and his office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The factory struggled for years. US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Reagan wandering last year to highlight what his agency called “long-standing concerns about environmental sanitation in historically marginalized communities.”

Heavy rain caused the Pearl River in Mississippi to swell and reach its peak over 35 feet on August 29, near the major flood stage. (Video: Reuters)

The water crisis comes as parts of Jackson were already scrambling on Monday to deal with it Flood around the Pearl River. in Emergency NoticeLumumba said the flooding caused “water pressure problems … resulting in low or no water pressure for many of Jackson’s clients.”

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Although it is rare for entire cities to lose access to water, even temporarily, a 2019 study found that more than two million Americans It was without running water. Native American homes were 19 times more likely than white homes to lack indoor plumbing. Black and Latino families were more likely.

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