Water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi: Efforts to restore supplies set back, continuing dire situation for residents

Efforts to restore supplies were set back on Friday when a chemical imbalance and low water pressure were detected.

“It’s like fixing an airplane while it’s flying. You have to be very careful how you fix it to keep flying,” says Jim Craig, senior lieutenant for health protection at the Mississippi Department of Health. said Friday night at a press conference.

“This is the same thing that we are trying to produce water for. All the demands for water have to keep happening, and every time we do maintenance, we have to offset some of that,” Craig said. explained.

This city of about 150,000 inhabitants kettle notification Since July 30 — and last weekend’s heavy rain flooding caused a chemical imbalance at the OB Curtis water treatment plant.

Since then, life has changed for Jackson residents, with long waits for bottled water to drink, cook and brush their teeth. Schools were also closed.

“We pay water bills all the time and can’t use the water,” said Jackson resident Corian Wheeler. “We feel like we live in a third world country in America. It’s kind of bad.”

But progress has been made, according to state and local officials.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antal Lumumba noted at a press conference on Friday that “two days in a row have been successful” and acknowledged that not “everyone has pressure or water”. I was.

“The team works 24/7 to make sure these benefits are established or maintained,” he said.

On Friday morning, Craig pointed out that the treatment plant was pumping water at 85 PSI. This is a unit known as pounds per square inch that measures pressure. However, it dropped to 77.2 PSI later in the day, he said.

According to a city news release, this reduction means that at high altitudes far from the plant, water pressure may still be low or non-existent. The goal is to bring pressure levels up to 87 PSI, the city said.

Rising water pressure could lead to burst pipes, mayor warns

As the crew tried to increase water pressure, Lumumba warned that another infrastructure problem could be on the horizon.

“They can raise the pressure in the factories to levels not seen in years, so the challenge will be if there are pipes bursting across the city,” he said. We know you have fragile pipes. Just like our water treatment plants are aging, so are our pipes.”

In early 2020, our water system failed an Environmental Protection Agency inspection. The tests found that drinking water can harbor harmful bacteria and parasites.

Residents also had no access to water for a month when water pipes froze and burst during a winter storm in 2021.

A Mississippi Investigative Reporting Center report released by Clarion Leisure in January said the problem was largely systemic, with old and leaking pipes, a malfunctioning treatment plant, and a solution to the problem. lack of funds for

In July 2021, the EPA and the City agreed to “address long-term challenges and make necessary improvements to drinking water systems.” The EPA also recently announced a contribution of her $74.9 million to the Federal Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Fund in Mississippi.

proponents have previously pointed out Systemic and environmental racism as one of the causes of the ongoing water problem in Jackson and the lack of resources to deal with it. About 82.5% of Jackson’s population is black or African American, according to census data, and the state legislature is majority white.

Staffing at the factory is also a problem, according to people familiar with the matter.

EPA staff found that the city of Jackson, Mississippi's water department was understaffed, leading to a gap between routine and preventive maintenance, the report said.

Six of the 11 water tanks have reached stable levels and the remaining tanks are in the process of improving levels, the city said in a news release.

Meanwhile, officials are still urging residents to boil water.

For Jackson to reach the clean water benchmark, the state health department must test 120 water samples from different locations over two days and all samples return clean results, the governor said.

“I can promise today that I will continue to advise the citizens of Jackson to boil water until it really gets to the point,” Governor Tate Reeves said.

He also added that seven state-run water sites had distributed about 2.8 million bottles of water within 24 hours on Thursday.

President Joe Biden also endorsed Jackson’s state of emergency declaration, allowing Mississippi to draw on critical resources to respond to the crisis, Reeves said.

CNN’s Jamiel Lynch, Raja Razek, Theresa Waldrop, Nouran Salahieh, Jason Hanna, and Amir Vera contributed to this report.

Source: www.cnn.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.