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Extreme cold causes “fluctuating” water pressure in Jackson, Mississippi

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In Jackson, Mississippi, officials Saturday said the city’s water system – which partially collapsed in late August – was experiencing “fluctuating” pressure on Saturday afternoon amid frigid temperatures brought on by a powerful winter storm which has hit much of the country.

“Both of our water plants are functioning, so crews are now working to determine what is causing the fluctuation,” Melissa Payne, a city spokesperson, said in a news release. “As crews are working to stabilize things, frigid temperatures are hampering their efforts.”

Some residents in Mississippi’s capital city may temporarily experience low water pressure, officials warned. Leading up to the “arctic blast” that brought dangerously cold air to Jackson, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba warned that the city’s the water distribution system remained a “huge vulnerability.”

Jackson has had water problems for decades. In late August, most of the city lost running water for several days after heavy rainfall exacerbated problems at the city’s main water treatment plant. When that happened, Jackson had already been under a boil-water advisory for a month because health inspectors had found cloudy water that could make people ill.

Hundreds of National Guard members were called in to help with water distribution, schools and businesses were shuttered, and residents were told to shower with their mouths closed because the water was not safe. 

The boil-water advisory was lifted in mid-September. That same month, the EPA announced that it had launched a review of the Jackson water crisis, which FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell had described to CBS News at the time as an “absolutely tragic situation.”

Last month, a judge approved a request from the Justice Department to appoint a third-party manager for Jackson’s water system. 

In late October, the EPA also announced it was investigating whether Mississippi state agencies have discriminated against Jackson by refusing to fund water system improvements in the city of 150,000, where more than 80% of residents are Black and about a quarter of the population lives in poverty.

In February 2021, tens of thousands of Jackson residents were left without running water for days after pipes froze.

Source: CBS News



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