Sep 4, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jackson, Mississippi, gives residents "positive" news as water pressure returns

Water distribution in jackson
Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Jackson, Mississippi, residents are still facing a water crisis nearly a week after flooding in the Pearl River damaged the city's water system, though water pressure has been restored to most of the city, the city said in a news release Sunday.

Why it matters: The crisis has upended life for the city of nearly 150,000 people, with schools shifting to remote learning and businesses being forced to shutter or install expensive fixes like portable toilets. People have had to wait in long lines for potable water.

The plant's output of 90 pounds per square inch is higher than the city’s goal of 87 PSI, but the "outlook continues to be positive" at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, where the failure happened, the city said in the update. Additional repairs could cause fluctuations in the water pressure, per the city.

  • “Multiple tanks are approaching full,” the release says. “We no longer have any tanks at low levels. All of Jackson should now have pressure and most are now experiencing normal pressure.”
  • The city continues to be under a boil notice, which was put into place back in July.
  • In Sunday's press release, the city said it hopes to take water samples midweek, and it will need two clear samples before the boil water notice can be lifted.

Driving the news: It's too early to tell when the failed water system, which has left thousands of people without clean tap water, will be fixed, FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday.

  • Criswell said during a visit to Jackson on Friday that the water was going to return "in phases."
  • "The focus right now is making sure we can get bottled water out, but also we are providing temporary measures to help increase the water pressure, so that people can at least flush their toilets and use their faucets," Criswell said.

Catch up quick: Jackson has been under a boil-water notice since July 30, after tests showed water quality was "cloudy," raising concerns about potential health concerns.

  • Flooding from the Pearl River caused the already-damaged main water treatment plant to fail, resulting in some faucets without water and, in other cases, brown water, CNN reports.
  • The governor announced a state of emergency on Tuesday and activated the National Guard to assist the city.
  • President Biden on Tuesday approved a federal emergency disaster declaration to assist with the outages.
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