‘Seek Justice For Jackson’: Capital Water System Gets Interim Management Authority

The U.S. Department of Justice is establishing an “interim third party manager” for the City of Jackson’s beleaguered water system. That manager is charged with stabilizing Jackson’s water production and distribution facilities and bringing the capital city back into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

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Nick Judin November 30, 2022

‘Rebuild The Trust’: City of Jackson Approves EPA Order to Stabilize System

The City of Jackson has approved an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to address the city’s ongoing water crisis, providing a legal framework to address its violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and stabilize its water system after two consecutive years of ongoing disruptions.

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Nick Judin November 18, 2022

White Mississippians Still Think They Are the Only Decision-Makers for Jackson, Miss.

“What we are witnessing today is the result of decades-long efforts to delegitimize Jackson leadership,” West Ohueri writes.

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Dr. Chelsi West Ohueri November 4, 2022

‘Clean, Safe, Drinkable Water’: Jackson Town Hall Gives Update on Complaint Against State

NAACP President Derrick Johnson told citizens that the State of Mississippi knew Jackson’s water had contaminants and did nothing about it, continuing to starve the capital city of resources instead.

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Aliyah Veal October 25, 2022

Preventing Next Water Crisis: Mississippi Should Rebuild Infrastructure with Resident Input

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves requested a federal declaration on Sept. 12, 2022, that would allow Jackson businesses dealing with the capital city’s water crisis to receive up to $2 million in disaster loans.

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Dr. Tracee Smith and Romona Taylor Williams October 21, 2022

EPA Investigating Mississippi For Civil Rights Violations Over Jackson Water Crisis

The U.S. The Environmental Protection Agency has opened an investigation into the State of Mississippi for possible civil rights violations over the lack of reliable access to safe drinking water in the majority-Black capital City of Jackson.

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Ashton Pittman October 20, 2022

Congress Investigating Mississippi’s Use of Infrastructure Funds After Latest Jackson Water Crisis

Congress has announced a formal investigation into how Mississippi is spending billions in federal infrastructure money, with a particular focus on how the State plans to use those funds to address the City of Jackson’s water problems.

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Ashton Pittman October 18, 2022

Mississippi: Welfare Fraud Highlights A State Facing Crisis of Leadership 

Beyond Jackson’s water crisis or the TANF welfare scandal, Mississippi is experiencing a leadership crisis, Nsombi Lambright-Haynes writes.

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Nsombi Lambright-Haynes October 6, 2022

Jackson Water Crisis: Disaster Loan Office Open Until Oct. 7, Others Until June 2023

U.S. Small Business Administration extends Jackson loan assistance office’s Closure until Oct. 7, 2022. 

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Kayode Crown October 4, 2022

U.S. Senate Approves $20 Million For Jackson Water System

Jackson officials have estimated that the cost to fully repair the many issues afflicting the capital city’s dilapidated water infrastructure could cost well over $1 billion.

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Ashton Pittman September 29, 2022

NAACP Files Race Discrimination Complaint Against State Over Jackson Water Crisis

A complaint filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on Sept. 27, 2022, claims that Mississippi’s capital city has not received the federal funding needed to address its water needs partly because of “a long history of discrimination through years of neglect and the repeated denial of requests for federal funds.”

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Kayode Crown September 28, 2022

U.S. Justice Department Threatens Legal Action in Jackson Water Crisis

The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking an enforceable agreement with the City of Jackson to address multiple violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, many resulting from long-standing deficiencies at O.B. Curtis, Jackson’s primary water treatment plant.

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Nick Judin September 27, 2022

Rep. Bennie Thompson Seeks $200 Million Federal Aid For Jackson Water System

Congressman Bennie Thompson is seeking up to $200 million in direct federal funding for the City of Jackson to address its beleaguered water system, potentially bypassing the State of Mississippi entirely.

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Nick Judin September 23, 2022

Jackson Water Crisis: SBA Office for Business Disaster Loans Open Until Oct. 1

U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman said in a Sept. 15, 2022, press release that the federal disaster loans available for businesses in and around Hinds County that the Jackson water crisis has affected will help the “communities recover and rebuild.”

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Kayode Crown September 21, 2022

‘We’re Suffering’: Jackson Residents File Class Action Lawsuit Over Water Crisis

Plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 16, 2022, are seeking immediate attention to the water problems affecting Jackson, Miss.

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Kayode Crown September 20, 2022

‘The Last Will Be First’: National Infrastructure Bank’s Plan for Failed Jackson Water System

HR 3339, a current bill in Congress, would create a $5-trillion National Infrastructure Bank to finance projects that federal, state and local governments cannot. This plan would allow Mississippi to receive up to $47 billion over 10 years to cover all infrastructure improvements, including roads, bridges, levees and dams, affordable housing, public transport and more, Alphecca Muttardy writes.

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Alphecca Muttardy September 16, 2022

Mississippi Lifts Jackson Boil Water Notice For First Time Since July 29

The Mississippi State Department of Health today lifted a boil water notice for the entire City of Jackson for the first time since July 29, 2022. Gov. Tate Reeves announced at a press conference today. 

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Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman September 15, 2022

Jackson Businesses Now Eligible For Up to $2 Million in Federal Disaster Loans

Jackson businesses that have suffered losses amid the Mississippi capital city’s ongoing water crisis will be able to apply for as much as $2 million in federal Economic Injury Disaster loans, Gov. Tate Reeves announced Wednesday. 

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Ashton Pittman September 15, 2022

Jackson Water Crisis: Mayor Considering Whether New Treatment Plant Needed

At College Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., on Sept. 13, 2022, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba opened the possibility of a new water treatment plant for the capital city after explaining ongoing challenges running and staffing the O.B. Curtis water treatment center to the people gathered there for a town hall meeting.

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Kayode Crown September 14, 2022

Gov. Reeves Requests Federal Aid For Jackson Businesses Hit By Water Crisis

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves is asking the federal government to step in and help Jackson businesses overcome economic hardships that the capital city’s ongoing water crisis.

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Ashton Pittman September 13, 2022

‘Dude, that’s Klan Sh*t’: Sexist, Racist Attacks Aim to Squelch Speech, Free Press

“These white folks don’t want us all to own our role and to work together; they want to finger-point at a Black mayor who inherited a billion-dollar-plus water-sewer crisis, fixate only on recent missteps and, thus, abdicate all other responsibility,” MFP Editor and CEO Donna Ladd writes. “That simplistic approach continues the old cycles.”

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Donna Ladd September 12, 2022

EPA Head Gathers City, State, Federal Leaders to Address Jackson Water Crisis

For the first time in recent memory, virtually all stakeholders in the future of Mississippi’s capital city came together Wednesday to discuss the Jackson water crisis that has left more than 160,000 residents without clean water for over a month. 

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Nick Judin September 8, 2022

Mississippi In Talks With Company To Run Jackson Water System, Mayor Says

The State of Mississippi is now in talks with a private company about managing its capital city’s struggling water system, Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said during a press conference Tuesday. The City of Jackson was also in discussions with the company before the State took over, he added.

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Ashton Pittman September 7, 2022

Free Press Team Reporting Complexity, Facts, Causes of Jackson Water Crisis. Again.

“Our team covered the deep causes of the first round of the Jackson water crisis, and are covering this one, like both professional journalists and Mississippians who love their home state and its capital city.”

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Kimberly Griffin September 6, 2022

‘Privatization Is On The Table’: Gov. Reeves Gives Jackson Water Crisis Update

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced “significant” improvements in the City of Jackson’s water system on Labor Day while telling reporters he is open to numerous long-term solutions, including leasing its management to a private company.

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Ashton Pittman September 5, 2022

Friday Update: Where to Get Water, More Voices Weigh in on Jackson Crisis

The City of Jackson reported on Thursday, Sept. 1., 2022, that more than half of the surface tanks across the city were filling as efforts are underway to fix problems at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.

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Kayode Crown September 2, 2022

Address Jackson Water Crisis, Then All Existing Systems Failing Our Children

Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of Mississippi and New Orleans programs at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation writes that “together, we can be the ones who create the environments and communities that build up our children, rather than tear them down.” She encourages Mississippians to come together to solve the Jackson water crisis—and then to repair the systems that led to it.

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Rhea Williams-Bishop September 2, 2022

Fact Check: Tanker Not Providing Water to Gov. Tate Reeves’ Jackson Residence

A viral video showing a tanker truck parked across from the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion in Jackson has sparked speculation online that Gov. Tate Reeves’ home is enjoying special access to clean water while most residents of the capital city go without safe running water. But the speculation is wrong.

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Kayode Crown and Ashton Pittman September 1, 2022

‘A Can Kicked Down the Road’: Water Crisis Strains Daily Life In Capital City

Mississippi House Rep. Ronnie Crudup Jr. told the Mississippi Free Press on Wednesday that Monday’s water failures reminded him of the 2021 crisis. Gov. Tate Reeves’ press conference on Monday, he said, “gave me a little hope.”

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Kayode Crown September 1, 2022

Biden Approves Gov. Reeves’ Request For Help Amid Jackson Water Crisis

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves formally asked President Joe Biden to declare a federal emergency for the State of Mississippi in a letter Tuesday night as Jackson residents continued to deal without access to safe, running water in the capital city.

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Ashton Pittman August 30, 2022

Mayor Disputes Governor on Jackson Water Quality, Says System Improved Overnight

For the second day in a roll, the breakdown in operations at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Center in Jackson, Miss., has caused water pressure reduction throughout the capital city, disrupting activities as the city and state declared a state of emergency.

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Kayode Crown August 30, 2022

‘No Efforts To Recruit’: EPA Says Jackson Failed To Address Water System Needs

Only days before the effective collapse of Jackson’s water system, the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted a critical failure on the part of the capital city’s leaders in pursuing new water operations staff and in implementing an alternative water plan.

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Nick Judin August 30, 2022

‘Do Not Drink The Water’: Jackson Water System Failing For 180,000 People

Jackson’s water system is failing and all water across the city is entirely unsafe to drink, officials said at an emergency briefing Monday night. State leadership have warned all residents of Mississippi’s capital city to boil water before drinking or even brushing their teeth.

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Nick Judin August 29, 2022

‘Working Diligently’: Mayor Says Pearl River Flooding Hurting Water Pressure in Jackson

JACKSON, Miss.—The O.B. Curtis Water Treatment facility is experiencing significant challenges due to the increased

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Kayode Crown August 29, 2022

‘Tough Times To Sell’: Business Hurting Amid Jackson’s Ongoing Water Woes

John Tierre can count the days since Jackson received a citywide boil water notice. He can count the money, too. Every day his restaurant, Johnny T’s Bistro & Blues on Farish Street, bleeds a little more profit thanks to a water crisis with no end in sight.

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Nick Judin August 26, 2022

‘Clean Water Is A Human Right’: Jackson’s Water Crisis Is An Education Crisis

Erica Jones, president of the Mississippi Association of Educators, writes that the capital city is at a “critical juncture,” calling on leaders to collaborate and take advantage of the funds available for necessary infrastructure work and decide upon a viable solution.

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Erica Jones August 26, 2022

Jackson Water Crisis Creates Distrust, Disrupts Learning, Teacher Association Warns

On Monday, the Mississippi Association of Educators made recommendations for resolving the water crisis in the city, including asking the mayor to proclaim resolving the water as the number-one priority, developing a plan with proposed legislative action, and making it available for public input by Sept. 1, 2022.

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Kayode Crown August 12, 2022

Jackson Mayor, Health Department Clash Over Drinking Water Safety

Capital-city residents could be dealing with rolling precautionary boil-water notices for up to another year, as the winterization process at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant continues. But Jackson’s mayor and an expert consultant from Cornerstone Engineering remain adamant that the water remains entirely safe to drink.

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Nick Judin August 8, 2022

Our Communities and Constituents are Counting on ARPA; Withholding Not Rational

Our state is one of four that have not begun obligating their funds. If we wait another year to appropriate ARPA, we have less time to complete the jobs and we have fewer available contractors, subcontractors and civil engineers.

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Delbert Hosemann March 21, 2022

Coagulant Failure At O.B. Curtis Leaves Jackson Without Clean Water Again

The capital city is once again without clean water, after the City of Jackson announced that a bad batch of coagulant chemicals forced the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant to shut down a significant portion of its water production system.

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Nick Judin November 16, 2021

EPA Administrator Visits Jackson Just Ahead Of Citywide Boil Water Notice

An ailing water system brought EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan to Jackson in the first place, and that same system had displaced the students of Wilkins Elementary to Van Winkle Elementary. Later in the day, Jackson residents would learn of a third crisis: yet another citywide boil-water alert.

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Nick Judin November 16, 2021

EPA Chief Visits Jackson to Address Water Crisis, Discuss Help in Biden Infrastructure Deal

Michael S. Regan, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is touring Jackson today and addressing topics on the environment with an emphasis on the city’s longstanding water infrastructure woes. 

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Nick Judin and Ashton Pittman November 15, 2021

Flint Lead Lawyer Sues Jackson, MSDH, Alleging Lead-Poisoned Children

Lawyers representing hundreds of Jackson children have sued the City of Jackson, Trilogy Engineering Services, and dozens of individual employees and public officials over allegations of persistent failures to address corrosion control in the Jackson water system. The lawsuit claims that spiking lead levels over the last decade and inaction on the part of public officials has resulted in lead-poisoned children in the city.

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Nick Judin October 22, 2021

EPA Tours Jackson Water Treatment Plants As City Faces Long Road to Rehab

Regulators and public-works officials agree that Jackson’s water-treatment facilities have completed key improvements ahead of a looming Environmental Protection Agency deadline, but much work remains to bring the capital city’s system into compliance with public health regulations.

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Nick Judin July 26, 2021

Not A Drop To Drink: Jackson’s Slow-Going Water Pump Repairs Leave Bitter Taste Behind

Beginning on May 18, Mercadel lost access to water for three days, had low pressure for two weeks and unsafe drinking water for over a month at his Maddox Road home. It was a miserable continuation of the Jackson water crisis not much easier to endure than the city-wide outages of February and March.

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Nick Judin and Julian Mills July 7, 2021

Jackson Maddox Well System Repairs Continue

The City of Jackson has completed repairs on the Siwell Road Well in south Jackson, the first of two wells in the Jackson Maddox Well System to receive a full replacement after mid-May failures left thousands in the Jackson metropolitan area with low water pressure, potentially unsafe for consumption.

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Nick Judin June 14, 2021

‘This Was Coming’: Public Works Director Charles Williams on Jackson Water, Staff, Errors

The Mississippi Free Press met with Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams on May 3 to discuss the EPA’s 2020 emergency order, the ongoing effort to improve the city’s water treatment plants, the documentation of the city’s water treatment violations, and transparency over water quality and safety. 

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Nick Judin May 6, 2021

Jackson Boil Water Notice Lifted, Investigation Results To Come

Jackson residents have safe water again this week, after the city announced today that it was lifting the boil-water notice put in place after a control-panel fire at O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.

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Nick Judin May 3, 2021

Electrical Fire at O.B. Curtis Leaves City Without Safe Water For Weekend

Jackson residents are without clean water yet again, as an early-morning electrical fire at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant depressurized the city’s transmission system just ahead of the weekend. 

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Nick Judin April 30, 2021

Under the Surface, Part 3: A Water Crisis Amid A Legacy In Decline

The reaction to integration, which included white Jackson families immediately pulling 5,000 of their children out of local schools, was but one piece of the water-infrastructure puzzle. Another came in 1972, an unintended consequence of necessary environmental reform. That year, the Water Pollution Control Act steamrolled through a veto from President Richard Nixon. Few took notice.

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Nick Judin April 21, 2021

Legislative Assistance For Jackson Water Crisis Rests On Single State Bill and Federal Aid

The Mississippi Legislature’s effort to assist in the Jackson water crisis has been pared down to a single bill on water-payment flexibility and $2 million from the capital expense fund, a far cry from the ambitious plans that emerged at the peak of the outages. But legislators involved in the ongoing deliberations over the crisis say the federal government is expected to provide significant support for the City of Jackson and Hinds County, between the disaster declaration and the American Rescue Plan. 

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Nick Judin March 29, 2021

Under The Surface, Part 2: After Jackson Freeze, the Fog of War

It was Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, when it all went wrong at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant. Dr. Charles Williams, public works director for the City of Jackson, could see the writing on the wall. “We started losing system pressure. Everything bottomed out. We had to figure out why,” he says now. A war, of sorts, lay ahead.

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Nick Judin March 26, 2021

Specifics Murky in Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s Federal Jackson Water Crisis Relief Bill

The City of Jackson may receive federal assistance for its ongoing water crisis after U.S.

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Nick Judin March 17, 2021

Under the Surface, Part 1: Jackson Residents Struggle from Neglected Water System

What does it mean to be without water? It is innumerable small humiliations: the splash of a toilet flushed with a bucket, days on end without a shower, no clean clothes. It is weeks without a cooked meal, a sink full of unclean dishes, brushing one’s teeth with water from a bottle, if a bottle can be found. For Tamiko and Otis Smith and many others, it is something far more dangerous. 

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Nick Judin March 13, 2021

‘A Respectful Conversation’: Hosemann, Lumumba Break Tension Over Jackson Water

Jackson Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba and Lt. Gov Delbert Hosemann met today at the Capitol for a “respectful conversation,” in the mayor’s words, to discuss a concrete plan to address Jackson’s short-term water-system needs. The meeting was a preface to the much more complex discussion of how to permanently address the city’s aging water infrastructure. 

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Nick Judin March 9, 2021

Hosemann Pins Water Blame on Jackson Leaders Since Last White Mayor; Harvey Johnson Factchecks

Lt. Gov. Delbert Hosemann said Mayor Kane Ditto, the capital city’s last white mayor, was also the last leader on Jackson’s infrastructure. Former Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. begged to differ. “I don’t know what the impetus is behind all of this misinformation,” Johnson said. “I hope it’s not demographics.”

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Nick Judin March 1, 2021