The Daily Telegraph

Shower with your mouth shut, people in Mississipp­i told

- By Jamie Johnson

RESIDENTS of Jackson, Mississipp­i, have been told to shower with their mouths closed because the water in the city is not safe.

Some 180,000 people have lacked clean running water for nearly a week after an ageing treatment plant was knocked offline by flooding last Monday night – highlighti­ng the fragility of America’s crumbling infrastruc­ture.

Now, when residents in Jackson turn on the tap, undrinkabl­e brown water sputters out, often under very low pressure. Water samples collected on July 28 showed “turbidity [cloudiness] levels of 1 to 2.5 units”, compared with standard levels of 0.3. This means there is an “increased chance the water may contain disease-causing organisms”.

As such, residents in the city – where 80 per cent of the population is black and 25 per cent live in poverty – have been ordered to boil water before drinking it, cooking with it, washing dishes or brushing teeth.

The latest order says people can “wash hands and bathe as usual – as long as no water is swallowed”.

The struggle has been likened to that of residents in Flint, Michigan, whose water supply was contaminat­ed by lead in 2016, exposing tens of thousands of people to dangerous chemicals and sparked an outbreak of Legionnair­es’ disease which killed 12 people.

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