Monday, October 3, 2022
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Jackson, Mississippi, without reliable running water

The city of Jackson, Mississippi, did not have a reliable water supply Monday after rain and flooding pushed the Pearl River to dangerous levels, officials said.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba declared a water system emergency Monday night due to complications from the Pearl River flood. He said problems at the OB Curtis water plant resulted in low or no water pressure for many residents.

“The water shortage is likely to last for the next several days,” the city said in a statement. statements.

Jackson, the state capital and largest city, had water problems even before the rain that sparked fears of flooding from the Pearl River.

The city has been under a boil water advisory since last month because tests found a cloudy quality in the city-supplied water that could hinder the disinfection process and lead to illness.

government Tate Reeves told a news conference Monday night that the city’s water system could not produce enough water.

“Until that’s fixed, it means we don’t have reliable piped water at scale,” Reeves said. “It means the city can’t produce enough water to fight fires, reliably flush toilets and meet other critical needs.”

Flooding in Jackson, a city of about 153,000 people, was less severe than feared after the state saw record rainfall, officials said.

The Pearl River was forecast to stay just over 35 feet but begin to slowly recede Monday night, the National Weather Service said.

“The good news is that the water levels were lower than projected,” Lumumba told a briefing on Monday, adding that at the time the water was believed to have entered only one house.

But river water entering what he said was already a “very fragile water treatment facility” meant it needed to be treated differently and resulted in a reduction in water going out into the system, he said.

“This is a city-wide challenge that they are working to recover from,” Lumumba said.

Reeves said there would be state emergency declarations in addition to city ones.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency would distribute water to residents, and the state would also be leading an effort to begin emergency repairs and maintenance to get the water flowing again, Reeves said.

State health officer Daniel Edney told a news conference: “The water is not safe to drink. I would even say it’s not safe to brush your teeth, because we’re not seeing proper chlorination and an inability to disinfect the water.” constantly.” ”

Residents should bring their water to a full boil for at least three minutes, he said.

Reeves said the city’s main water treatment facility had been “operating with zero redundancies,” or backup systems, and its main pumps had recently been damaged.

Jackson Public Schools said that all classes would switch to virtual learning and that there would be no in-person instruction beginning Tuesday due to water shortages.

The Associated Press contributed.

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