(JACKSON, Miss.) — Water pressure has been restored to much of Jackson, Mississippi, but a precautionary boil water notice is still in effect as crews continue to look for leaks and make repairs on the city’s troubled water system, local and state officials said.
“The far reaches of the system are still not seeing full pressure recovery. We’ve identified approximately 20 to 25 active leaks all over the city,” Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said at a press conference Wednesday.
Officials hope to have the boil water advisory lifted by Saturday, though Lumumba noted that was “an ambitious goal.”
The city issued a precautionary boil water notice on Christmas Day after severe winter weather caused unidentifiable breaks in its distribution system. Lumumba issued a local state of emergency, calling the situation a “worst case scenario.”
Environmental Protection Agency rules require the city to issue a boil water notice when water pressure at the city’s main treatment facilities drops below a certain threshold, Lumumba said.
“Loss of system pressure endangers public health because of the high potential for the introduction of contaminants,” according to the EPA.
The recovery in water pressure is from people turning off dripping faucets, Lumumba said.
Water distribution continued Wednesday at various locations throughout the city. Non-potable water will be given out to residents at the Mississippi state fairgrounds so they can flush their toilets. The mayor urged residents to conserve water and report leaks and open fire hydrants.
Water issues have long-plagued the city of Jackson. Historic flooding in August damaged a major pump at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant, which left around 150,000 of the city’s mostly Black residents without drinkable water.
This week, freezing temperatures also caused water pressure issues in Atlanta, Georgia, leading to boil water notices in the city’s metro-area counties, including Clayton, Butts, Forsyth and parts of Dekalb, Haralson and Monroe.
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