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Federal, state emergencies declared over water crisis in Jackson, Miss.

President Joe Biden talks to employees at FEMA headquarters May 24, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Biden and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves have declared state and federal emergencies in the failure of Jackson's water system. Biden said in a statement FEMA is coordinating relief efforts in Mississippi to help deliver water to residents. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI
President Joe Biden talks to employees at FEMA headquarters May 24, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Biden and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves have declared state and federal emergencies in the failure of Jackson's water system. Biden said in a statement FEMA is coordinating relief efforts in Mississippi to help deliver water to residents. File Photo by Oliver Contreras/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Mississippi is in a state of emergency declared by both President Joe Biden and Gov. Tate Reeves due to the water crisis in the state capitol of Jackson. Mississippi is struggling to deliver emergency water to approximately 180,000 residents.

Biden's emergency declaration ordered federal assistance to supplement the state's efforts, authorizing FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate "the hardship and suffering."

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Gov. Reeves' emergency declaration statement said, "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. That's my responsibility as governor, and it is what everyone in my administration is committed to ensuring."

The governor activated the National Guard and said the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency will lead the effort to distribute drinking and non-drinking water to Jackson residents.

RELATED No running water in Jackson, Miss., after flooding damages treatment plant

Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba told reporters that the city is grateful for the assistance.

"We've been going it alone for the better part of two years when it comes to the Jackson water crisis," Mayor Lumumba said. "I have said on multiple occasions that it's not a matter of if our system would fail, but a matter of when our system would fail."

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The mayor said Jackson has not had the resources to properly fix the water problem.

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Current water distribution efforts are resulting in long lines for city residents to get bottled water. Lines more than a mile long formed Tuesday at Hawkins Field Airport, but after two hours the 700 cases of water ran out as people needing water were turned away.

Former NFL star Deion Sanders coaches the Jackson State University football team. Sanders described conditions in Jackson on his Instagram page.

"We don't have water. Water means we don't have air conditioning. We can't use toilets. We have no water. Therefore, we don't have ice," Sanders wrote on Instagram . "So right now, we are operating in crisis mode."

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In 2021 the EPA announced it had entered into a Safe Drinking Water Act Administrative order on Consent meant to address long-term challenges and make needed improvements in Jackson's water system.

The EPA said in a 2021 statement it had identified "compliance deficiencies, including operational and maintenance concerns" in 2020 and 2021 notices of noncompliance to Jackson about its water issues.

In 2020 an EPA report noted that portions of Jackson's water system are over 100 years old, the city failed to fully implement lead and copper water monitoring requirements as well as infrastructure issues.

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Heavy rain and flooding caused the already troubled city water system to fail this week in the majority-Black city of more than 150,000 people.

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