JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi’s capital city was restoring running water to some homes and businesses Thursday, but many faucets remained dry or had only a trickle of water as crews worked to repair a flood-impaired water treatment plant.
Jackson leaders reported some overnight progress in refilling tanks at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, the facility at the root of the latest water woes in Jackson.
Those among Jackson’s 150,000 residents who had running water again remained under a boil order that pre-dates the problems caused by flooding.
“Many areas throughout Jackson now have some pressure. Areas closer to the plant are experiencing almost normal pressure,” the city said in a news release. “Areas further from the plant and at higher elevations are still experiencing low to no pressure.”
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said the National Guard was opening water distribution sites, adding to sites already run by the city and by volunteer groups.
“To everyone in the city: I know that you’re dealing with a profoundly unfair situation,” Reeves said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s frustrating, it’s wrong and it needs to be fixed.”
PHOTOS: Jackson sees some improvement in its damaged water system
Low water pressure left some people unable to take showers or flush toilets.
Jackson schools held classes online Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and some restaurants closed. Portable toilets are parked outside the Capitol. Jackson State University brought in temporary restrooms for students.
Lisa Jones filled empty paint buckets with water at a distribution site in south Jackson on Wednesday. She said her family would use the water for bathing. She said she’s frustrated by paying for water service she’s not receiving.
“Every week you have to beg somebody to go to their house and ask if you and your children can take a bath. And then you’re running their bills up,” Jones said. “If we can’t fix it, we need to get someone who can. … Fix what’s broke. Enough is enough.”
Reeves declared a state of emergency Monday night after excessive rainfall and flooding from the Pearl River exacerbated problems at the treatment plant. On Tuesday, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state. Biden called Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba on Wednesday to discuss response efforts, including support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Thursday morning, the city reported “significant progress” in restoration efforts at the treatment plant, with output measuring 78 pounds per square inch, approaching a goal of 87 PSI.
“There are still challenges to navigate as the intake water source changes chemistry again. Operator schedules have been adjusted to increase coordination between shifts,” the city statement said.
In addition to on-site repairs, the city is working to obtain more chemicals needed for treatment.
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