Tests reveal Jackson water likely contaminated

Tests reveal Jackson water likely contaminated
The Henderson County Water District issued a boil water advisory for some of its customers on Wednesday. (Source: WFIE)

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The city of Jackson is telling residents not to drink the water until they boil it first.

Tuesday, the city issued a drinking water warning, citing the amount of turbidity, or cloudiness, in the water.

Turbidity is a good indicator of whether disease-causing organisms are present in the water.

“This tells us whether we are effectively filtering the water supply. A water sample taken today, Feb. 23, 2021, shows turbidity levels greater than 1.0 turbidity units,” the warning reads. “This is above the standard of 0.30 turbidity units.

“Because of these high levels of turbidity, there is an increased chance that the water may contain disease-causing organisms.”

In the meantime, residents are being told to bring water to a rolling boil for at least one minute and let it cool before using or to use bottled water.

Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.

“Turbidity has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth.”

It also may indicate a presence of bacteria that could cause nausea, cramping, diarrhea, and headaches, the city writes.

Individuals who experience any of these symptoms are told to seek medical advice.

“People at increased risk should seek advice from their healthcare providers about drinking this water,” the warning reads.

The warning comes as Jackson works to restore water for tens of thousands of customers that were left with little to no water pressure following the winter storms. The storms froze up equipment at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, causing water production to come to a standstill.

As production fell off, the city’s water reserves were used up and pressure in the system fell off.

Because the water pressure in the system declined, bacteria and other organisms could have more easily entered the system.

Prior to the warning, Jackson was already under a citywide boil water notice.

City officials say efforts to restore water service are continuing and that pressure in the system is going up.

Hopes are for water to be completely restored across Jackson in the next few days.

“We are working very hard. We have vendors on-site at the plant assisting us getting water back in the system,” Public Works Director Charles Williams said. “We want our residents to know we are doing everything we can to … put people back into water.”

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