Jackson, Mississippi Rivals Flint, Newark for Water Contamination Issues

Over the past few years, Flint, Michigan and Newark, New Jersey became the poster children for water contamination in the United States. Add Jackson, Mississippi to the list.

In late August, historic flooding in the state's largest city damaged homes and offices, and caused some 150,000 residents to lose access to clean water.

The problem occurred when a major pump at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant was damaged. It had long been the main water treatment facility in Jackson.

Soon long lines of people on streets and highways were seen, as folks sought bottled water at distribution sites.

Decades of Deferred Maintenance

Water pressure eventually returned, with the boil order ending two weeks later. But the blame game is ongoing. And now residents are suing the city.

Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the problem of getting clean water to residents, which began years ago, will not end until fundamental changes have occurred.

"This is due to decades, decades and decades, of possibly 30 years or more of deferred maintenance," he told ABC News Prime.

"(Plus) a lack of capital improvements made to the system, a lack of a human capital (and) a workforce plan that accounted for the challenges that our water treatment facility suffers from."

Infrastructure Investments Dwindle
With more than 20,000 people moving out of Jackson in recent years, the amount of taxes to pay for infrastructure improvements has shrunk.

Andre M. Perry, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at Brookings Metro, a policy arm of the Brookings Institution.

He said, "Infrastructure is crumbling in a lot of different places. In Jackson, there was a direct link to a loss of revenue to… middle-class flight, which was facilitated by investments in the Sixties and Seventies that led to the building up of the suburbs."

This flight meant Jackson was unable to properly maintain its infrastructure. "In its highest form," he said, "infrastructure lays the foundation for economic and community development across the regions."

Only So Much Federal Funding Available
If local revenue is not enough, what about help from the federal government? Well, the problem here is that Mississippi is already the third most dependent state on federal funding (behind West Virginia and New Mexico).

Mayor Lumumba and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves have been told by the EPA that their state is already receiving millions of dollars to solve their water problems.

Jackson received $30 million in State Revolving Funds in 2021, and the state will receive more than $26 million this year. Those funds are to be used in part to bankroll infrastructure projects needed to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

That's pocket change compared to the $400 million Mississippi should receive over the next five years as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that President Joe Biden signed last year.

But here's the issue – Lumumba says it will cost at least $1 billion to fix the city's water distribution problem. And billions more to completely resolve the situation.

Jackson Residents File Lawsuit

As if city officials did not have enough problems, a federal class-action lawsuit has been filed against them. As well as against the city and infrastructure engineering companies for their roles in the water crisis.

Among the plaintiffs in the case is a woman whose terminally ill child requires clean water to regularly flush out his feeding tube.

She believes city officials did not act quickly enough when it was clear there was a contamination problem.

The plaintiffs' demands include damages and regular water testing. Plus the removal of contaminated pipes and the cancellation of bills and debts for contaminated or undelivered water.

Children Exposed to Toxic Lead Levels?

According to the official complaint, Jackson's water was already loaded with lead and other contaminants hazardous to human health. (A separate lawsuit against the city claims hundreds of children may have been exposed to toxic lead levels in drinking water.)

The complaint also states, "This public health crisis, decades in the making, was wholly foreseeable by Defendants' actions and has left Jackson residents in an untenable position – without access to clean, safe water."

The lawsuit alleges that city officials ignored repeated warnings of elevated lead levels and other problems with the city's water. And in some cases, took actions that made the situation worse.

Among the defendants are industrial giant Siemens, which allegedly installed more than 20,000 water meters that gave inaccurate readings. And Trilogy Engineering Services, which allegedly made a faulty recommendation on how to address contamination.

Patriot Pure Pitcher Makes a Difference

If you're not currently drinking dangerously contaminated water from your faucets, you may be soon. We owe it to ourselves and our families to make sure the water we drink at home is as clean and safe as possible.

My recommendation for ensuring just that is the Patriot Pure Pitcher. This pitcher removes up to 90% of fluoride, 97.5% of lead, 98% of mercury and more than 99% of chromium-6.

It also reduces up to 99.99% of chlorine and arsenic. As well as VOCs, pesticides, detergents, and industrial and agricultural chemicals.

The result is a proprietary, carbon-based, ionic-adsorption micron filter. It protects you from many water impurities.

The pitcher is easy, fast and safe to use. It has a 1-gallon reservoir capacity. A half gallon of water can be filtered in less than eight minutes.

Here's how to get yours >>
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