Aug 31, 2022
People in Jackson, Mississippi, don't have access to safe drinking water. The city’s largest water treatment plant finally gave out. Officials are trying to give out bottled water to more than 180,000 people in and around the city. All those people depended on the old system.
Many homes and businesses had little to no water pressure this week. For weeks, people were told to boil water. Water samples were cloudy. When tested, officials found the water wasn't safe. They said some water seemed to have come straight from reservoirs with little or no treatment.
The city said flooding from the Pearl River after heavy rains caused parts of the treatment facility to fail. But Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves said the aging water plant simply broke down.
Even without the floods, Tate argued, the treatment system was going to fail within weeks. The plant’s two main pumps were not running. It was already operating through its backup systems, he said.
Jackson is the state capital. It's one of the poorest cities in the United States. Nearly 1 in 4 residents live below the poverty line. More than 82% of its citizens are Black or African American.
Some state lawmakers urged Tate to bring together a special session of the legislature to address the issue. They said wealthier areas of Mississippi have gotten more attention from state leaders. “The state, with unprecedented money in the bank, must step up and invest in Jackson, and save a system that serves almost one-tenth of all Mississippians. We need to act now,” said a Democratic state senator. His district is in the Jackson area.
Photo from chmeredith courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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