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If there is a silver lining to finding out that pretty much all of Flint's water infrastructure is literally lead-lined, it is the fact that we have now learned that oodles of other cities have terrible semi-deadly water supplies! Wait. That is not actually a good thing. That is the kind of thing that makes us want to curl up into a ball and cry, particularly when you remember that this and other enviro-awfulness disproportionately hits communities of color.

The latest community to report that "uh, hey, maybe don't drink that, or touch it, or bathe in it, but hey, change the temperature or something and it is probably totally fine" about their water is Jackson, Mississippi.

[The Mississippi state] health department released a statement Wednesday urging pregnant women and children, who are at greater risk from lead exposure, to take extra precautions when consuming Jackson’s water. These include running the water before using and avoiding hot water while cooking.

“We realized that the city of Jackson cannot come into compliance quickly, so while they’re dealing with these alkalinity and these pH levels that lead to corrosivity, we just want to recommend that,” said Liz Sharlot, MSDH spokesperson.

Are you wondering if Jackson is a community with a high poverty rate and a high percentage of African-American residents? Haha of course it is, dummy! The poor public works spokesperson tasked with explaining to people that their water can, if not actually kill them, kill their children's future, got to explain that this totally wasn't like Flint, except for the part where the water is deliciously lead-flavored.

“We understood the concern because there are some similarities to Flint. Nobody wants to say, ‘Flint,’ but I’m going to say that, because there are some similarities,” Powell said. “The way that we dealt with it is very different. That’s not similar at all. The similarities are that they did change their water system. They changed to a very corrosive water system, water source, and they had no corrosion control.

“In the city of Jackson, we have corrosion control, and we changed from a known water source to another known water source that we have been using for years. Our issue stems from the fact that our corrosion control system at the plant needs to be upgraded, optimized,” Powell said.

Oh, so you have a systemic corrosion control problem, but it is a TOTALLY DIFFERENT systemic corrosion control problem than that of Flint! We're sure that is a great comfort to your residents right now. Why, it's almost as if years of under-funding public infrastructure has finally come home to bite us all in the ass. Weird, huh?

[NYT/WaPo/Clarion-Ledger]

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