Startling footage out of Jackson, Mississippi Friday of murky liquid flowing from the faucet of a residential home underscored the serious water crisis plaguing the poverty-stricken city.
Newspaper reporter Molly Minta posted a stomach-churning video of dark brown water emanating from her bathroom sink as a six-week boil-water notice extended into the weekend.
Jackson’s main water-treatment plant was unable to handle severe rain caused by flooding along the Pearl River last month, accelerating damage to the fragile system.
An inundation of raw water contaminated a reservoir supply, slowing treatment, depleting supplies and causing an unsafe pressure drop.
Some pumps were already out of commission before the rain, causing the plant to rely on backups.
The antiquated system had already been beaten down by a series of cold snaps that froze pipes last winter, leaving many of the city’s 150,000 residents without water.
The Environmental Protection Agency told Jackson months ago that its water had run afoul of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA officials called on Washington, DC Wednesday for the capital city to receive “its fair share” of federal money to rebuild its system under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that was signed into law by President Biden last fall.
The Magnolia State was set to receive $429 million over five years allocated to water treatment under the $1 trillion dollar measure, according to the White House.
As the crisis continued this week, cars were lined up to collect donated bottled water as restaurants brought in tanks of clean water from outside the city.
Jackson has lost about a third of its tax base since 1980 due to white flight, and one in six of its residents live in poverty.