Jackson, Mississippi water crisis: FEMA administrator says its unclear when water will be safe to drink

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Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell on Sunday said there is no clear timeline for when residents of flood-stricken Jackson, Mississippi, will get safe drinking water.

Criswell appeared on CNN’s "State of the Union," saying that "it’s still too early to tell" when the Mississippi capital of 150,000 will have full access to clean water.

"I think that we have a lot more to learn about what it's going to take to get that plant up and running," Criswell said.

Torrential rains and flooding of the Pearl River in late August exacerbated problems at one of Jackson’s two treatment plants, leading to a drop in pressure throughout the city where residents were already under a boil-water order due to poor quality.

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"This is not okay for the residents of Jackson, Mississippi," the FEMA administrator said. "And so our focus needs to be on what is it that we need to do today and in the coming days to make sure that when we get safe drinking water back, but that we make sure that this does not happen again."

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Criswell said that FEMA has worked to bring temporary measures to Jackson to help increase the water pressure "so people can at least flush their toilets" and hand out bottled drinking water.

Residents fear the city's water woes will send more consumer dollars from Jackson and its crumbling infrastructure to the city’s outskirts.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.