MSDH issues alert ordering Jackson to ‘immediately cooperate’ with response teams over water crisis

The order also cites six reasons why Jackson’s water is unsafe.
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 10:43 AM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The new State Health Officer, Dr. Daniel P. Edney, has issued an emergency order that declares a public drinking water supply emergency in Jackson.

It also orders the city to immediately cooperate with state response teams and contractors deployed to augment current staffing and to take remediation actions deemed necessary by the State Incident Commander.

Here are 6 reasons the Mississippi State Department of Health deems the water unsafe:

  • Insufficient number of certified operators at J.H. Fewell and O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plants
  • Insufficient number of maintenance staff at all water treatment plants and to support the distribution system
  • Failure of multiple raw water pumps at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant
  • Low levels of water in storage tank
  • Low water pressure impacting proper sanitation and education opportunities
  • Disinfection levels not consistently optimal developing the potential to have the presence of enteric organisms, including but not limited to, E.Coli, Cryptosporidium, or Giardia in the drinking water being served to customers.

Monday, the city declared its own water system emergency, citing “complications from the Pearl River flooding.”

For Immediate Release: August 29, 2022 Mayor Lumumba declares water system emergency The City of Jackson is NOT...

Posted by City of Jackson - Government on Monday, August 29, 2022

Not long after Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba made that announcement, reports began pouring in from businesses, residents, and state government officials that they no longer had water service.

Then, Governor Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency due to the City of Jackson’s ongoing water crisis directing the state’s Emergency Management Agency to step in and improve conditions at the water plant.

Tuesday, the state set up a command center at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility so the Mississippi State Department of Health could immediately send in experts to help assess the problem at the facility.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and National Guard are also setting up distribution sites to provide potable and non-potable water to residents, while Hinds County Emergency Operations is securing water to ensure the fire department can operate when needed.

Read the full order here.

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