Water Crisis at it's Peak in Mississippi

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, Doris Devine in Jackson, Miss., stores containers with potable water provided by City of Jackson councilman and State Rep. De'Keither Stamps in her tub. With no water pressure, the water will be used to flush the toilet. The snow and ice that crippled some states across the South has melted. But it has exposed the fragility of aging waterworks that experts have been warning about for years. Cities across Texas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Mississippi are still grappling with outages that crippled health care facilities and forced families to wait in line for potable water.  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 22, 2021, file photo, Doris Devine in Jackson, Miss., stores containers with potable water provided by City of Jackson councilman and State Rep. De’Keither Stamps in her tub. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)


Some residents in Jackson, Mississippi are entering their fourth week without access to safe drinking water. According to reportsTuesday, officials in the city of nearly 200,000 people are still restoring water service that was depleted by a winter storm in February.

The storm brought bitter cold temperatures to the south, causing as many as 80 local water main pipelines to freeze and crack. This rendered water pressure inadequate. As a result, residents remain under a boil notice, which was originally issued on February 16.

Recent testing revealed the water contains high levels of cloudiness, which increases the chance it may contain disease causing organisms. City Council chair Alen Banks said the pollution is a major problem considering the sanitary sewer overflows.

“Even though we have pressure, the problem we have now is the water being contaminated because of the amount of debris that got into the springs and then now with that you have SSOs (sanitary sewer overflows),” he explained.

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba said the water crisis highlights issues that have existed for decades like the inability to replace aging pipes. He estimated it would cost $2 billion to bring his city’s water system up to date and the city’s total annual budget is around $300 million.

In the meantime, however, the community is coming together to do what they can. City officials and the National Guard have distributed more than 26,000 bottles of water and about 7,000 gallons of non-potable water to residents. Outside organizations, including Capital City Beverages and Molson-Coors, have also offered aid.

Mississippi Army National Guard Sgt. Chase Toussaint, right, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Riley, both with the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site of Camp Shelby, fill 5-gallon water drums with non-potable water, Monday, March 1, 2021, at a Jackson, Miss., water distribution site on the New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church parking lot. Water for flushing toilets was being distributed at seven sites in Mississippi's capital city, more than 10 days after winter storms wreaked havoc on the city's water system because the system is still struggling to maintain consistent water pressure, authorities said. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi Army National Guard Sgt. Chase Toussaint, right, and Staff Sgt. Matthew Riley, both with the Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site of Camp Shelby, fill 5-gallon water drums with non-potable water, Monday, March 1, 2021, at a Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)



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