On Monday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan again met with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, this time alongside the U.S. Department of Justice, to plot the next course of action over the city’s water system.
“Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Department of Justice and I met today with Mayor Lumumba to discuss the actions the federal government is prepared to take to help remedy this longstanding injustice,” Regan said in a press release. “During that meeting, I conveyed our desire to work with the City to reach a judicially enforceable agreement that ensures a sustainable water system in the mid- and long-terms.”
The release did not mention the agreement between the EPA and Jackson that’s already in place. The two parties signed an administrative order in 2021, which contains a list of 40 hiring and repair requirements outlined by the federal agency.
Mayor Lumumba recently said the EPA has been flexible in setting deadlines in that agreement. All of the original deadlines have since passed. Mississippi Today reached out to the EPA to ask which of those items the city has met so far, but was told by a spokesperson, “Due to the ongoing enforcement activities, we are unable to provide information related to the city’s compliance status.”
The two parties are also under a court-ordered non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from sharing a “very detailed plan” with a cost estimate for fixing the city’s water system, Jackson officials said recently. The EPA confirmed to Mississippi Today that there is a confidentiality order in place, but didn’t provide further detail.
The press release added that Jackson has issued roughly 300 boil water notices in the last two years.
New boil water notices hit over 1,200 customers
Since the state health department lifted the month and a half long boil water notice just 11 days ago, Jackson has since issued new boil water advisories for over 1,200 customers.
The city announced on Monday afternoon that a “contractor inadvertently severed the water line” for approximately 1,000 connections in Byram.
Jackson issued boil water notices for the other 200 connections because of line breaks caused by increased pressure in the system, officials said. Mayor Lumumba warned residents in early September that the worn down distribution system would be susceptible to such issues.
City workers, with assistance from the Mississippi Rural Water Association and teams from Maryland, Arkansas, Minnesota and South Carolina, have continued repairs at both of Jackson’s treatment plants. A Monday press release said the crews brought two of the raw water pumps back into service at O.B. Curtis before the weekend.
The city said on Monday that the following areas, including Byram, Belhaven, North Jackson, and Eastover, are currently under a boil water notice:
[7300-8899] Gary Road, Byram: 39272
Glen Haven Subdivision
Glenn Oak Circle
Cedar Glenn Drive
Brank Creek Drive
Red Oak Cove
Cedar Glenn Cove
Eagle Nest Subdivision
Eagle Nest Drive
Mountain Crest Drive
Golden Eagle Drive
Lake Ridgelea Subdivision
Lake Shore Drive
S. Ridge Road
E. Ridge Road
Bob White Street
W. Ridge Road
Horse Shoe Circle
[1200-2399] North State Street: 39202
[1600-1899] Pine St.
[700-799] Euclid St.
[700-799] Oakwood St.
[700-799] Fairview St.
[700-799] Arlington St.
[700-799] Pinehurst St.
[700-799] Gillespie St.
[1300-1399] Peachtree Street: 39202
[5300-5599] Highland Drive: 39206
[4300-4599] El Paso Street
Editor’s note: This story was updated to include more streets impacted by the boil water notices because the City of Jackson released more locations after this story first published.
-- Article credit to Alex Rozier of Mississippi Today --