After Jackson, Mississippi’s main water treatment began to fail on Monday (Aug. 29), the governor is urging citizens not to consume the city’s water, CNN reports.
State officials have declared an official emergency for its capital and are now in the process of distributing drinking and non-drinking water to roughly 180,000 residents. At this time, the National Guard has been called in to help distribute the water as crews work to get the treatment plant back online. “Please stay safe. Do not drink the water,” said Gov. Tate Reeves during a press conference on Monday (Aug. 29). “In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes. Be smart, protect yourself, protect your family.”
While a set cause of the system’s failure has yet to be determined, Reeves revealed that the damage may have progressed throughout the summer months. Particularly, he noted that the flooding of the Pearl River following heavy rain last week played a role in the affected treatment processes. He also shared that the city is unable to produce “reliable running water at scale.” “It means the city cannot produce enough water to fight fires, to reliably flush toilets, and to meet other critical needs,” Reeves added.
Residents have been asked to conserve any water resources that they have access to. Additionally, everyone is encouraged to boil all water used for at least three minutes. On Tuesday (Aug. 30), Jackson public schools shifted to virtual learning as a result of the current water conditions. Currently, Reeves notes that the state is “surging” its resources to the city’s water treatment facility while also “beginning emergency maintenance, repairs, and improvements.” “We will do everything in our power to restore water pressure and get water flowing back to the people of Jackson,” said Reeves. The nation’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also noted that, “Ensuring all people have access to healthy and safe water is a top priority.”