Water Woes Mississippi

Firefighters and recruits for the Jackson, Miss., Fire Department carry cases of bottled water to residents vehicles, Aug. 18, 2022, as part of the city's response to long-standing water system problems. 

(The Center Square) – A crisis at the water plant in the state capitol has triggered a state of emergency in Hinds County, Mississippi.

Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has issued the state of emergency and activated the National Guard in response to flooding that has caused failures at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant in Jackson. Soldiers will be providing assistance in the city and the surrounding area, and the state’s Department of Health has also issued a state of emergency.

“The state is marshaling tremendous resources to protect the people of our capital city,” Reeves said in a release. “It will take time for that to come to fruition. But we are here in times of crisis, for anyone in the state who needs it. That’s my responsibility as governor, and it is what everyone in my administration is committed to ensuring.”

According to the release, water pressure has been totally lost, or nearly lost, in facilities around the city that has resulted in disaster conditions or potentially extreme peril to safety and property.

Currently, according to the release, the loss of pressure has rendered the city to be unable to produce enough water flow to flush toilets, fight fires, and provide for other critical needs.

The state, according to the release, has organized fire safety initiatives and has organized its resources for sanitation and life safety.

Reeves, according to the release, have given authority to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency to distribute drinking and non-drinking water to residents in the city.

According to the release, Mississippi is deploying resources to Jackson’s water treatment facility and has begun emergency maintenance, repairs, and improvements to return water pressure to the city’s lines.

The Department of Health issued the state of emergency due to an insufficient number of certified operators at the water plants in the city, along with insufficient maintenance staff at the facilities, failure of multiple raw pumps, low levels in water storage tanks, and disinfection levels not being consistent to prevent E. coli and other contaminants in the water.

Associate Editor

Brent Addleman is an Associate Editor and a veteran journalist with more than 25 years of experience. He has served as editor of newspapers in Pennsylvania and Texas, and has also worked at newspapers in Delaware, Maryland, New York, and Kentucky.