“The focus right now is making sure we can get bottled water out,” FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell told CNN’s Dana Bash.
“Right now, we’re providing temporary measures to increase the water pressure so people can at least flush their toilets and use the faucets.”
The FEMA director visited the site Friday and said it’s not certain when the water plant will be fully operational again.
“There has been a lot of infrastructure damage that has been present for many years,” Criswell told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.
But “I think that having EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, we had a really good conversation on Friday about what it’s going to take and the assessments they’re doing,” Criswell said. “It’s going to happen in phases.”
City officials said the water plant made “significant gains” in terms of water pressure late Friday night into Saturday, increasing plant output to 86 pounds per square inch (PSI) — close to their goal of 87 PSI.
But even when Jackson’s boil water advisory is lifted, the water treatment infrastructure will still be in a fragile state, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
“As I have always warned, even when the pressure is restored, even when we’re not under a boil water notice, it’s not a matter of if these systems will fail, but when these systems will fail,” Lumumba said.
“There are many points of failure. We’re talking about a set of accumulated challenges that have taken place over the better part of 30 years.”
The mayor told ABC he expects a long road ahead to achieve a “safe, drinkable, reliable, sustainable and equitable” water treatment facility.
“I’ve been lifting up this circumstance amongst many individuals that are in leadership and have influence over a solution,” Lumumba said. “I don’t want to put it squarely in one person’s lap, but I think there’s a well-defined record of me lifting that up.”
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