Water woes continue to plague Jackson, Miss.; boil water notice remains in effect

The city issued a preventative boil water advisory on Christmas Day after severe winter weather led to breakdowns in its distribution system. 

There has been some progress, but water woes continue to plague the predominately Black city of Jackson, Mississippi, with a Christmas Day boil water notice remaining in effect.

According to ABC News, Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said when water pressure at Jackson’s primary treatment facilities falls below a certain level, Environmental Protection Agency regulations call for the city to issue a boil water advisory.

While most residents and businesses across Mississippi’s capital city have restored water pressure, crews are still hard at work searching for leaks and repairing its notably faulty infrastructure.

Mayoe Chokwe Lumumba discusses water woes in Jackson, Miss.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba discusses elements of a coordinated response with federal agencies he believes will help deal with the Mississippi city’s long-standing water problems during a September news briefing. Lumumba issued a local state of emergency after a boil water notice went into effect in the city on Christmas Day. (Photo: Rogelio V. Solis/AP)

“The far reaches of the system are still not seeing full pressure recovery,” Lumumba said at a press conference Wednesday, ABC News reported. “We’ve identified approximately 20 to 25 active leaks all over the city.”

Jackson issued a preventative boil water advisory on Christmas Day after severe winter weather led to unidentified breakdowns in its distribution system. 

According to WAPT News, Lumumba said that third-party administrator Ted Henifin, who is in charge of the city’s water system, attributed recovery that was noted this week to citizens shutting off the faucets they left running during the recent cold weather to prevent them from freezing. Jackson residents also may have fixed leaks in their residences and workplaces.

While officials hope to lift the boil water advisory by Saturday, Lumumba said it’s “an ambitious goal,” according to ABC News. He advised residents to conserve water and report leaks and open fire hydrants.

“We do not want any resident to assume that because there is an active leak running down their street that somebody has already called and the city is aware,” Lumumba said, according to WAPT.

Lumumba has declared a local state of emergency, which, according to him, will enable the swift acquisition of water and other essentials and the completion of urgent repairs.

Water problems have long plagued Jackson, ABC News reported, but a significant pump at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant damaged by historic flooding in August exacerbated the situation, leaving nearly 150,000 of the city’s primarily Black population without access to drinkable water.

“Loss of system pressure endangers public health,” the EPA maintained, “because of the high potential for the introduction of contaminants,” according to ABC News.

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