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Jackson Water Crisis, State Health Officer Issues Emergency Declaration

Courtesy of Funky Tee (Flickr CC0)

The health officer of the state, Dr. Daniel Edney, has announced that there is an emergency with the public drinking water supply for the city of Jackson. The announcement is based on the information that was received by the Mississippi State Department of Health.

There is an insufficient number of certified operators at O.B. Curtis and J.H. Fewell Water Treatment Plants. There is insufficient maintenance at all of the water treatment plants to support the distribution system. The disinfection levels are not regularly optimal, developing the potential to have the presence of enteric organisms, some of which include E. coli, Cryptosporidium, or Giardia in the drinking water being served to customers, among lots of other information

The city has started to distribute H2O meant for drinking and water for non-drinking purposes to up to 180,000 city residents. State officials said the National Guard has been called in to help out distribute the H2O as crews work to get the water treatment plant back up and running.

The health department is currently holding the city of Jackson accountable for going along with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The emergency is planned to be in effect for no more than 120 days, but the health officer of the state may or may not extend the order for an extra 30 days if necessary.

Courtesy of ajay_suresh (Flickr CC0)

City residents, inclusive of all ages, were spotted in lines spanning longer than a mile for at least two hours for a single case of H2O. For many years, Jackson has had problems with its water system for many years. In February 2021, freezing temperatures caused power and water outages in Jackson, and in late July 2022, the city told residents to boil their aqua. The city has called it a water quality issue.

As a result of the failure that occurred on Monday, officials have announced that there will be temporary go-to virtual schools for all of Jackson on Tuesday. City residents are being told to try and make the H2O resources they do have last and to boil any aqua they do use for three minutes.

Unfortunately, the city does not have the funds to deal with over 30 years of neglect of the Jackson water system. “Our primary focus is going after every available state dollar and every available federal dollar in order to make these long overdue improvements to our system,” Mayor Lumumba said. As for trying to restore aqua pressure flow and performing emergency maintenance and repairs, the state would have to split the cost with the city, Reeves said Tuesday.

One of the main pumps at O.B. Curtis, one of Jackson’s aqua plants, was recently damaged very badly, and the facility started to rely on the backup pumps about a month ago, about the same time the city notified city residents to boil their water

The governor said that he was told on Friday that “it was a near-certainty that Jackson would fail to produce running water sometime in the next several weeks or months if something did not materially improve.”

Officials have announced lots of places where it is possible to receive bottled water. Other than preparing to distribute aqua to the residents, the state is going to set up a tanker system to be able to provide water for fire trucks, as Jackson has not been able to use the water from the fire hydrants.

Joe Biden has been informed about the water crisis in Jackson and the White House has been in contact with state and local officials, including Mayor Lumumba, and made it clear that the Federal Government stands ready to offer some assistance.

Written By Lance Santoyo
Edited by Sheena Robertson


CNN: ‘Do not drink the water’: Mississippi National Guard will hand out water as Jackson’s main water facility fails

WAPT: Jackson water crisis: State health officer issues emergency declaration

ACB News: Jackson, Mississippi, water shortage crisis may cost billions of dollars to fix: Mayor

Featured Image Courtesy of Funky Tee’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

Inset Image Courtesy of ajay_suresh’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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