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Governor Reeves issues State of...

Governor Reeves issues State of Emergency, activates National Guard in response to Jackson water crisis

By: Anne Summerhays - August 30, 2022

State Health Office Dr. Dan Edney has also declared a public drinking water emergency for the City of Jackson.

On Tuesday, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a State of Emergency regarding the ongoing running water crisis in the City of Jackson stemming from the failures of the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. Reeves has also activated the Mississippi National Guard to support state assistance to the city and surrounding areas.

The O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant provides water to over 43,000 connections representing over 160,000 residents in the City of Jackson, Mississippi and surrounding areas of Hinds County.

According to a release from the Governor’s Office, the total or near total loss of water pressure throughout the City of Jackson and surrounding areas of Hinds County that receive water from the plant has created a condition of disaster and extreme peril to the safety of persons and property.

Governor Reeves said that the state is marshaling tremendous resources to protect the people of our capital city.

“It will take time for that to come to fruition. But we are here in times of crisis, for anyone in the state who needs it,” Reeves stated. “That’s my responsibility as governor, and it is what everyone in my administration is committed to ensuring.”

Due to the current pressure issues, the city is unable to produce enough water to flush toilets, fight fires, and meet other critical needs. Mississippi has immediately organized for fire safety and is organizing resources to provide for sanitation and life safety.

Governor Reeves announced that the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will lead the effort to distribute drinking water and non-drinking water to Jackson residents. Mississippi has created an incident command structure and is surging resources to the city’s water treatment facility and beginning emergency maintenance, repairs, and improvements.

The Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) has also issued a State of Emergency of its own. State Health Office Dr. Dan Edney declared a public drinking water emergency for the City of Jackson, citing mechanical issues, insufficient staff, and low water levels affecting proper sanitation.


“Pursuant to the Mississippi Safe Drinking Water Act of 1997 ( §41-26-1 et sec.), the Mississippi State Department of Health, upon receipt of information that emergency circumstances exist for customers of the City of Jackson, Mississippi drinking water system to receive safe drinking water and that a public water system emergency exists, is imminent or can reasonably be expected to occur without the immediate implementation of additional staffing and remediation measures hereby declares a public drinking water supply emergency in the City of Jackson, Mississippi,” a release from MSDH states.

MSDH said that the Declaration is based upon the following information received:

  • Insufficient number of certified operators at J.H. Fewell and O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plants
  • Insufficient number of maintenance staff at all water treatment plants and to support the distribution system
  • Failure of multiple raw water pumps at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant
  • Low levels of water in storage tank
  • Low water pressure impacting proper sanitation and education opportunities
  • Disinfection levels not consistently optimal developing the potential to have the presence of enteric organisms, including but not limited to, E.Coli, Cryptosporidium, or Giardia in the drinking water being served to customers.
About the Author(s)
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Anne Summerhays

Anne Summerhays is a recent graduate of Millsaps College where she majored in Political Science, with minors in Sociology and American Studies. In 2021, she joined Y’all Politics as a Capitol Correspondent. Prior to making that move, she interned for a congressional office in Washington, D.C. and a multi-state government relations and public affairs firm in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Millsaps, Summerhays received a Legislative Fellowship with the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi where she worked with an active member of the Mississippi Legislature for the length of session. She has quickly established trust in the Capitol as a fair, honest, and hardworking young reporter. Her background in political science helps her cut through the noise to find and explain the truth. Email Anne: