By Karen Stokes
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States has recently declared that it will allocate $115 million to the City of Jackson, Mississippi. This funding aims to assist the city in making crucial investments in water infrastructure, ultimately ensuring safe and dependable drinking water for its residents.
According to the EPA, Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “These funds will help stabilize and rebuild the city’s water system and make significant strides to provide reliable water service to people’s homes, schools, and businesses. As I’ve said since the onset of this crisis, we will continue to stand with the people of Jackson and work to resolve this long standing issue together.”
Last year in August 2022, Jackson’s water system was already grappling with problems, including aged and leaking pipes, as well as malfunctions at its treatment plants. The situation took a turn for the worse when severe flooding hit the city, causing the main water treatment plant to fail. As a result, approximately 150,000 residents were left without access to safe drinking water.
President Biden secured an unprecedented $600 million in disaster supplemental funding for the City of Jackson under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, or bipartisan 2023 Federal budget. This initial $115 million award to the Jackson Public Water System will be used to stabilize and rebuild the city’s water infrastructure. These activities include identifying and fixing leaks in the distribution system, developing a system-wide assessment of valves and hydrants, ensuring adequate pumping capacity to maintain water pressure and distribution, and developing a system stabilization and sustainability plan.
“For years, the people of Jackson, Mississippi, have suffered the consequences of aging water infrastructure,” Biden wrote in a statement. “In December, I was proud to sign bipartisan legislation to help stabilize Jackson’s drinking water infrastructure and protect against future crises. Today, as a result of that legislation, I am announcing an initial $115 million investment towards repairing the city’s water infrastructure challenges and delivering clean water for all.”
“Thanks to my Investing in America agenda, we’re already deploying record resources to communities all across America to replace lead pipes, improve water quality, and rebuild the nation’s drinking water infrastructure, ensuring it can withstand the impacts of the climate crisis,” the statement reads.
The President wrote, While we have made a lot of progress, there is much more work to do to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water.