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State Issues Boil Water Alerts For Jackson, Flowood

Escherichia coli bacteria illustration
The Mississippi State Department of Health issued boil water alerts for people who receive their water from the City of Jackson’s water supply in Hinds County and the City of Flowood in Rankin County after detecting E. coli bacteria in the water on Jan. 11, 2024. Photo by

Tests indicating the presence of E. coli bacteria in the water prompted the Mississippi State Department of Health to issue state-imposed boil water alerts this afternoon for residents who receive their water from the City of Jackson’s water supply in Hinds County and the City of Flowood’s water supply in Rankin County.

“Water sampling showed the presence of E. coli. bacteria,” the alerts say. “Health officials strongly recommend that all water be boiled vigorously for one minute before it is consumed. This precaution will last at least two full days and water system officials will be immediately notified when the boil water alert is lifted.”

Graphic courtesy Rankin County Emergency Operations

MSDH notes that “the presence of these bacteria in water generally results from a problem with the treatment process or pipes which distribute the water.”

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency sets drinking water standards and has determined that the presence of E. coli is a serious health concern,” the alerts explain. “Fecal coliforms and E. coli are bacteria whose presence indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause short-term effects such as diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children and people with severely compromised immune systems.”

JXN Water, the entity that controls Jackson’s water supply, is contesting the results and its leaders are suggesting the findings may have been caused by lab contamination and subsequent retesting did not detect any E. coli in Jackson’s water supply.

The alerts affect 27,997 residents served by the City of Flowood’s water supply and 188,723 served by the City of Jackson’s water supply, MSDH says.

The guidelines listed below are provided by MSDH:

Checklist for Safe Water Use


  • Do not drink tap water while the water system is under a boil water advisory.
  • Do not drink from water fountains in parks, public or private buildings that receive water from the affected system.
  • Do not use ice unless it has been made with boiled water. Freezing will not necessarily kill harmful bacteria.
  • Do not use tap water to make drinks, juices, or fountain soft drinks.


  • Wash your dishes in boiled water or use paper plates for the next few days.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with boiled or bottled water since they may have been exposed to affected water from grocery store sprayers.
  • Wash your hands and bathe as usual. Bathing is safe as long as no water is swallowed.
  • Brush your teeth with boiled or bottled water.
  • Cook with tap water if the food will be boiled for at least one minute.


  • Properly chlorinated water in swimming pools is safe.
  • Fish in aquariums are not affected.

Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will inactivate all major types of harmful bacteria.

When your boil-water notice is lifted:

  • Flush faucets for a total of 10 minutes to introduce system water throughout house plumbing.

    • 1 faucet — run for 10 minutes
    • 2 faucets — run both for 5 minutes
    • 3 faucets — run each for 3-4 minutes
  • Flush any faucet a minimum of 2 minutes to ensure clearing of the line serving the faucet.
  • Discard any drinks, ice, food, etc, made during the boil water notice.
  • Rewash any food or drink contact items (knives, forks, plates, etc.) with “cleared” system water.
  • Check water filters (in faucets, refrigerators and elsewhere) and replace if necessary.
  • Do not use water from your hot water heater for drinking until several exchanges of the tank have occurred.
  • Run dishwasher through a cycle or two before washing dishes.

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