The water taps in thousands of homes across Jackson, Mississippi, are closed “indefinitely” due to failures in the city’s treatment facility, cutting about 180,000 residents from the natural resource.
What’s happening: The treatment facility has been in disrepair all summer, but things came to a head over the weekend when floodwaters from the Pearl River breached the treatment plant, according to BBC News.
“Do not drink the water,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said Monday. “In too many cases, it is raw water from the reservoir being pushed through the pipes.”
According to Mississippi Today, Jackson had been relying on backup water pumps since late July because the main pumps had been “damaged severely.”
“Until it is fixed,” Reeves said in a statement, “it means we do not have reliable running water at scale. It means the city cannot produce enough water to reliably flush toilets, fight fires, and meet other critical needs.”
What’s next? It’s unclear how long Jackson residents will be without water. The National Guard is distributing drinkable and nondrinkable water to residents, according to CNN, and the state is organizing tankers to provide water to fire trucks.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Joe Biden has been briefed on the situation and the federal government is ready to assist if needed.
“FEMA is working closely with the state officials to identify needs, and the EPA is coordinating with industry partners to expedite delivery of critical treatment equipment for emergency repairs at the City of Jackson water treatment facilities,” Jean-Pierre said.