The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating a water crisis that has affected nearly 150,000 residents of Jackson, Mississippi, who are still subject to a boiling water advisory.
“I can confirm that the EPA’s Office of Inspector General has begun sending staff to Jackson to collect data and conduct interviews,” the office’s spokeswoman Jennifer Kaplan told CNN Sunday. Similar investigations in Contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michiganled to criminal charges and a large number of lawsuits.
weeks after the main city The water treatment plant started to failJackson’s residents were left without drinking water, and the water pressure returned. But the liquid coming out of the taps is still not safe to drink.
“There are still concerns about the consumption of that water,” Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” a copy the same as orgenal from the interview.
The city’s warning on boiling water, issued more than six weeks ago, says tap water should be boiled before using it for drinking, cooking, making ice, washing dishes or brushing teeth. On Friday, Mississippi Today reporter Molly Minta Post a video of dark brown water that she said was gushing from the tap in her home in Jackson.
current sharp crisis It began when heavy rains caused the Pearl River to overflow, affecting treatment operations after pumps at the main water treatment facility were already damaged. was on the population lining up for hours To get water boxes for drinking, cooking and even cleaning their toilets.
The city’s water problems date back years, and Boiling water warnings It has become a fact of life in the Mississippi capital. In early 2020, the system failed an Environmental Protection Agency inspection, which found drinking water could be host to harmful bacteria or parasites.
Last year, many residents were without water for a month after pipes froze and exploded during a February storm.
The current boil-water warning was issued in late July after turbid water at the OB Curtis plant was blamed on high levels of the mineral manganese, “along with the use of lime,” the city said. In order to lift the warning, the water pressure must be maintained, and the city needs “two rounds of clear sampling,” she said in an update Monday.
“There should be two consecutive days of obvious tests (120 samples in both days), Mississippi State Department of Health spokeswoman Liz Charlotte told CNN in an email.
She said the samples are pulled by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Environmental Quality Administration, or the city. Then an accredited laboratory performs the tests.
“Investigative sampling will continue today to monitor water quality,” the mayor said at a press conference on Monday. “Distribution system is not ready for complete sampling to clear the boiling water notice.”
“There is some optimism about those survey samples,” he said. “We are optimistic that we are looking at a matter of days, not weeks, before we can expect the boiling water notice to be rescinded.”
On Monday, the mayor said one of the two permanent pumps that were fixed and reinstalled on Saturday turned out to be in need of further repair.
“This does not affect the current factory input,” the city said in Modernization Monday.
It is expected that both faulty raw water pumps will “come to the site around the same time,” the mayor said, although it is not known when that will be.
The mayor said overseas teams from South Carolina, Michigan and Maryland are on site, to assist plant employees, and teams will arrive from Ohio on Monday.
Jackson’s water problems are largely systemic—old, leaky pipes, malfunctions in treatment plants and insufficient money to fix the problems, according to a report from the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting published by the Clarion Ledger in January.
Factory employment was also a problem. EPA staff found during a March visit that the city did not have enough staff for the system, resulting in a failure to implement routine and preventative maintenance.
The city set aside about $40 million for its water system from the US bailout, but Lumumba said Sunday it received it in installments, with “the lion’s share” headed toward repairing and replacing critical infrastructure such as water lines and treatment facilities. He said that $8 million of US bailout money was spent on just one pipe.
Mayor He said last year The city “needs literally over a billion dollars to replace our entire system.”