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Gov. Reeves: ‘There will be future interruptions’ regarding Jackson water

Governor Tate Reeves

Governor Tate Reeves and members of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) held a press briefing on Wednesday to update the public on the current state of the Jackson water crisis and what is being done to rectify the situation.

According to the governor, the state’s immediate priority is to have running water in Jackson, even if it means that it is undrinkable. The goal is to fulfill basic sanitary and safety needs such as showering and being able to fight fires.

Reeves also announced that the state is working to send hundreds of people, including members of the National Guard, to distribute clean drinking water to Jackson residents while experts work to fix the city’s water filtration system.

“Starting tomorrow, we will have Mississippi National Guard personnel deployed. Those deployments will include 600 guardsmen, 123 vehicles, bulk water distribution, bottled water, and hand sanitizer distribution,” said Reeves. “We will also employ the services of the Mississippi Forestry Commission to help with their incident management assistance team at the staging location and we will also employ at least 32 members of the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and their law enforcement team to help with the distribution.”

Jim Craig, with the Mississippi State Health Department, said that there was a setback at the O.B. Curtis water plant. Craig also said that Jackson water is not to be ingested unless it has been properly boiled until further notice.

“You can shower or bathe, but please make sure in the shower, that your mouth’s not open because again, you do not want to ingest the water currently,” Craig said. “Pets should not consume the water. Boil it and let it cool.”

Craig added that a chemical imbalance between the flood water and rain that seeped into the intake water from the reservoir caused the conventional treatment side of O.B Curtis to temporarily shut down, resulting in a loss of water pressure distribution.

RELATED: Water pump installed at Jackson’s O.B. Curtis water treatment plant

MEMA Director Stephen McCraney says that his agency has spent $8 million on water, personnel contracting, and other things necessary to move quickly to provide assistance for residents of the capital city. McCraney also said that he has a system in place for MEMA to continue to restock its water distribution sites in Jackson without running out of water.

“You’ve got popup distribution that happened, and that’s some local entity that wants to pull up into a parking lot somewhere and they have 10, 20 cases, and when they’re out — they’re out,” McCraney said to clarify the difference between a popup distribution and an official MEMA site. “I guarantee you that the state of Mississippi is not out of water right now. I’ve got trucks here. I’m restocking folks with water.”

Those with disabilities or access and functional needs who need water delivered are encouraged to call the City of Jackson’s 311 hotline, the United Methodist Committee on Relief at 601-354-0515, or the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

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