UPDATE: Water main break disrupts service in Jackson

By The Associated Press

JACKSON — Jackson Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said water was restored Thursday to thousands of customers hours after a large pipe broke, but Mississippi’s capital city remained under a precautionary boil-water notice.

“As far as we can tell, those people who were without water, have water now,” Johnson said during an afternoon news conference.

Johnson said the cap on a 54-inch main blew off. The problem was reported about midnight Wednesday, and many residents awoke Thursday to weak water pressure.

Johnson said sampling of the water would begin Friday. The city will remain under the boil water notice until state Department of Health tests show two consecutive days of clear samples.

Johnson said it took city crews a little time to find the break.

“We are uncertain of the specific nature of the failure. The water main is only about five years old. The contractor is helping the city crews,” he said.

Officials have estimated about 100,000 customers were affected.

On Thursday, hospitals shipped in thousands of gallons of water. Jackson State University canceled classes the rest of the week, city schools suspended summer classes, and Boys and Girls Clubs closed. Gov. Haley Barbour gave state agency directors the authority to send home nonessential employees because of the break. The International Ballet Competition called off dance classes for the day, but continued with evening performances.

Several downtown businesses also closed, and restaurants offered bottled water.

This is the Jackson’s second bout of water woes this year. Several pipes froze and burst in January.