Image Credit: (Face the Nation screenshot)

Jackson Mayor Says Federal Funding to Address City’s Water Crisis Is ‘Insufficient’

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Thousands of residents in Jackson, Mississippi, woke up last week to brown water running from their faucets. Despite federal funding, the mayor says the money will not be enough to tackle the city’s water infrastructure.

Mayor Chokwe Lumumba appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“We have committed the grand majority of our ARPA funds towards our infrastructure, not only at the water treatment facility but distribution lines. We’ve spent $8 million on one pipe alone to South Jackson, which is disproportionately affected,” Lumumba said.

Jackson, a majority-Black city, did not receive the $42 million at once. Lumumba explained that the city received a “second tranche” of the funds just a few short weeks ago.

“However, it is insufficient to meet the great need of 30 years of deferred maintenance and accumulated challenges. And so it will take a coordinated effort on not only the local state but federal levels as well,” he said.

Excessive rainfall at the Pearl River in late August led to the failure of two of the city’s water-treatment plants. Residents were left with low or no water pressure and without adequate water to drink, bathe, or even flush their toilets.

“All residents have had water pressure restored to them, they have yet to have the boil water notice lifted and so there are still concerns around the consumption of that water,” said the mayor on Sunday. “Right now, as many repairs and adjustments are taking place. In the triage period of where we are at the water treatment facility. There’s also investigatory sampling taking place. And so we believe that it’s a matter of days, not weeks, before that boil water notice can be lifted.”

A team from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Inspector General arrived in Jackson last week to initiate a “multidisciplinary” review of the drinking water crisis.

“The EPA OIG is keenly interested and concerned about what is happening in Jackson, Mississippi,” spokesperson Jennifer Kaplan told NBC News. “Last week, we began sending OIG personnel to collect data and conduct interviews, and over the coming week we expect to announce work related to the city’s water system.”

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