The water situation in Mississippi’s capital city has gotten so bad that citizens are urged to take cold showers and keep their mouths quiet.
Jim Craig, the director of health protection for the Mississippi State Department of Health, issued the suggestion on Wednesday for Jackson residents who have had little to no water running from their faucets for the last four days.
When bathing in the water is still safe, he advises people not to “open their mouth while they’re in the shower.”
According to CNN, Craig also advised homeowners to keep their pets away from water that has not been boiled for at least a minute, according to CNN.
Residents in Jackson have been boiling their water since the end of July, when workers at the city’s largest water treatment plant, O.B. Curtis, began.
The primary pumps started to fail at about the same time, forcing the facility to switch to smaller backup pumps.
The situation came to a head earlier this week when floods along the Pearl River forced the facility to shut down, which had been on the verge of failure for decades.
In the days afterward, officials hurried not only to solve the issue but also to supply bottled water to the 150,000 residents who did not have safe drinking water.
Officials installed a temporary pump on Wednesday, but many mechanical and technical concerns remain.
Staffing shortages have only exacerbated the city’s woes, and Craig claims that an “unacceptable” quantity of sludge has collected in the water basins over the years.
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told CNN that he is hopeful that water will be restored by the end of the week but that “there is a great mountain to climb.”
Many companies in the area have been forced to close due to the issue, with many still fighting to recover from the COVID outbreak.
Students who have only recently returned to school have also returned to virtual learning.
As a result of Jackson’s water crisis, President Biden announced a state of emergency in Mississippi on Tuesday.