Monday, December 5, 2022
Home SCIENCE Mississippi Capital Without Drinking Water Indefinitely After Pump Failure | Mississippi

Mississippi Capital Without Drinking Water Indefinitely After Pump Failure | Mississippi

Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, will be without drinking water indefinitely, officials said, after pumps at the main water treatment plant failed Monday, prompting emergency distribution of bottled water and tanker trucks to 180,000 people.

The city linked the failure to complications from flooding of the Pearl River, but Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, who declared a state of emergency, said the cause was unknown and the city-run water treatment plan had been poorly operated and understaffed for years.

In any case, Jackson – with a population of 150,000 and 30,000 in surrounding communities – could be left without running water indefinitely. And officials warned that anyone with access to tap water must boil it for three minutes.

Jackson is more than 80% black or African American, according to US Census data.

“Don’t drink the water,” Reeves said at a hastily called news conference. “In too many cases, it’s raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes.”

The city said recent flooding of the Pearl River, caused by torrential rains, created complications at the OB Curtis water treatment plant, which sits next to a reservoir that empties into the river just north of the city.

For a month, the city has been on alert warning residents to boil any tap water they intend to drink.

Reeves said the motors that power the plant’s pumps recently shut down, leaving it to run on backup pumps, which failed Monday. The state planned to set up an incident command center at the plant early Tuesday, hoping to restore operations.

“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.”

The crisis exposed a chasm between the Republican governor and the Democratic mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

Reeves said he did not invite Lumumba to Monday’s news conference, saying: “I cannot comment on what effect the flooding may or may not have had.”

The city operates the area’s two water treatment plants, the OB Curtis plant, which treats 50 million gallons (227,300 cubic meters) per day, and the Fewell plant, whose normal output of 20 million has been increased to 30 million gallons. authorities said.

Because water pressure dropped throughout the system, officials were unable to guarantee running water and did not know how many homes were affected.

Meanwhile, the Jackson Public School District said it would switch its students to online learning beginning Tuesday.

Both the city and the state were distributing bottled drinking water and non-potable water for restrooms, which the governor called an “enormously complicated logistical task.”

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