In response to a crisis that lasted for months and left 180,000 Jackson, Mississippi citizens without access to clean and safe drinking water, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed a proposed order in federal court to appoint a third-party manager to oversee the public drinking water system.
According to a news statement from the Department of Justice, the Interim Third Party Manager would be hired in order to stabilize the water system and foster customer confidence in the system’s ability to deliver safe drinking water.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garlands stated in a statement that the Justice Department is initiating action today in federal court to remedy long-standing shortcomings in the city of Jackson’s public drinking water system, according to E&E News. The American people’s safety and the protection of their civil rights are important to the Department of Justice. We will continue to fight for justice for the citizens of Jackson, Mississippi, along with our colleagues at the EPA. And we’ll keep giving cases in the areas most affected by environmental harm priority.
According to the press release, the Interim Third Party Manager would be able to maintain and operate the city’s drinking water system, implement capital improvements to the system, and correct conditions that present or may present an immediate and significant risk to the health of the city’s residents.
The order was signed by the Mississippi State Department of Health and the City of Jackson. On behalf of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Justice also lodged a complaint against the city (EPA). The city was accused of violating the Safe Drinking Water Act by failing to supply its consumers with drinking water, according to the complaint.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba told, Mayor of Jackson The city was happy to finally achieve an agreement, which represents an important next step in our efforts to offer both short-term and long-term solutions for Jackson’s water problems, according to a statement to The Guardian.
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The Jackson public drinking water system received a boil-water advisory from the Mississippi State Department of Health on July 29. The next month, torrential rains and flooding combined with the deteriorating infrastructure of Jackson’s water system caused a loss of running water across the city and in certain sections of nearby Hinds County. The EPA declared the water in Jackson to be safe to drink once more on October 31.
According to Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, “every American deserves access to clean, dependable drinking water regardless of where they reside, their income, or the color of their skin.” The residents of Jackson have been living in a state of anxiety regarding the safety of the water that comes from their faucets for a number of years. We have made a significant step in finally providing the Jackson residents with the relief they so well deserve by filing our court documents today.