The Justice Department Is Fed Up With Jackson Mississippi Officials' Inaction As Water Crisis Continues

JACKSON, MS - SEPTEMBER 01: Terrence Carter mixes bleach and soap into the water before washing dishes in response to the water crisis on September 01, 2022, in Jackson, Mississippi. The water pressure increased in Carters’ apartment on Wednesday; however, the water is still unsafe to drink. Jackson has been experiencing days without reliable water service after river flooding caused the main treatment facility to fail.
JACKSON, MS - SEPTEMBER 01: Terrence Carter mixes bleach and soap into the water before washing dishes in response to the water crisis on September 01, 2022, in Jackson, Mississippi. The water pressure increased in Carters’ apartment on Wednesday; however, the water is still unsafe to drink. Jackson has been experiencing days without reliable water service after river flooding caused the main treatment facility to fail.

The Department of Justice has had enough of the inaction of Jackson, Mississippi, city officials to solve its water crisis. According to NBC News, the DOJ is ready to file a complaint against the city of Jackson under the Safe Drinking Water Act if officials don’t form a plan.

Although the predominately Black city of Jackson, Mississippi, has been in the news due to its recent struggles with a terrible water system, this has been an issue for years. Between the finger-pointing and lack of resources to update the infrastructure, it’s beyond time to help Jackson’s citizens. Assistant attorney general Todd Kim echoed those claims in correspondence from Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba.

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From NBC News:

“We are prepared to file an action... but would hope this matter could be resolved with an enforceable agreement that is in the best interest of both the city and the United States,” wrote Todd Kim, an assistant attorney general with DOJ’s Environmental and Natural Resources Division. “We hope you will join us to discuss the path forward in our shared goal of ensuring reliable delivery of safe drinking water to the people of Jackson and Hinds County.”

Jackson was required to make repairs that were said to cost around cost $170 million by specific deadlines, and they were required to provide the Environmental Protection Agency with regular updates on those processes.

What Kim would say next in the letter should let everybody know how bad the water situation has been in Jackson. The DOJ feels when it comes to Jackson’s water supply, “an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health exists, as evidenced by the roughly 300 boil water notices that have been issued over the past two years, the multiple line breaks during that same period, and the recent drinking water crisis.”

Jackson had been under a boil notice since late July. Due to the failure of the water pumps at the O.B. Curtis plant, citizens went without clean water for days. While the boil notice is now lifted, residents are still hesitant that they can consume water from their faucets in a safe manner. The city of Jackson has a deadline of tomorrow to respond to the department’s request.