Mississippi capital to receive $35.6M in federal water funds

Nov 4, 2022, 3:53 PM | Updated: 3:54 pm
FILE -Clouds are reflected off the City of Jackson's O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility's sedimen...

FILE -Clouds are reflected off the City of Jackson's O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility's sedimentation basins in Ridgeland, Miss., Friday, Sept. 2, 2022. Mississippi's capital city has been awarded a tranche of federal funds to help fix its crumbling water infrastructure. The infusion of funds arrives after flooding-induced breakdowns at Jackson's main water treatment plant in late August left 150,000 people without running water for several days. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — Mississippi officials on Friday approved the city of Jackson’s request for $35.6 million in federal funds to help fix its crumbling water infrastructure, following this summer’s flooding-induced breakdowns that left 150,000 people without running water for days.

The Mississippi Municipality and County Water Infrastructure Grant Program approved the full amount the state’s capital city requested to pay for seven water and sewer projects.

State lawmakers created the program in 2022 to provide grants matching the federal government’s aid for cities and counties financed through the American Rescue Plan Act. The dollar-for-dollar match means Jackson will have $71.3 million to upgrade its water system.

Congress passed the sweeping American Rescue Plan Act to tame the public health and economic crises caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said the funds would help provide reliable drinking water to a city that has periodically lost access to such a basic necessity.

“We are grateful for the assistance and will continue to explore all potential funding avenues to achieve this end,” Lumumba said.

Over $400 million in match funds will be awarded for the entire state in two rounds. Applications for the $180 million first round closed on Sept. 30. About 430 cities and counties in Mississippi applied for funding. The second round of funds will be awarded sometime in the spring. Jackson-area legislative leaders plan to press for money during the 2022 legislative session, which begins in January.

“I was told by the executive director that one of the city’s drinking water projects scored higher than any other application in this first round,” said Democratic Sen. John Horhn of Jackson. “We are looking for the state to do more once the regular session begins in January.”

A lingering boil water notice preceded the late summer crisis after testing revealed the tap water was unsafe.

Among seven water and sewer system upgrades, the funds will be used to help replace a raw water pump at the beleaguered O.B. Curtis water treatment plant, which fell into crisis in late August after torrential rain fell in central Mississippi. The deluge altered the raw water quality entering Jackson’s treatment plants. That slowed the treatment process, depleted supplies in water tanks and caused a precipitous drop in pressure.

Understaffing at its water treatment plants, a shrinking tax base and political disputes between city and state officials have also contributed to the city’s water woes.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that the water in Jackson is safe to drink based on samples it collected over the past several months. But the agency is still waiting on another round of test results to determine whether Jackson has too much lead and copper in its water. The results are expected in mid-November.

On Oct. 20, the EPA said it was investigating whether Mississippi state agencies have discriminated against Jackson by refusing to fund water system improvements in the city, where more than 80% of residents are Black and about a quarter of the population lives in poverty.

___

Michael Goldberg is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mikergoldberg.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Lapchick focuses on racism impact in his social-justice work

ORLANDO, Florida (AP) — The founder of the institute that examines diversity in sports is taking to Twitter to highlight weekly examples of racism in sports and elsewhere. Richard Lapchick is the founder of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES), which was launched in 2002 at Central Florida. He said TIDES found […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

ND high court asked to lift injunction against abortion ban

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — An attorney for North Dakota asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to strike down an injunction blocking the state’s abortion ban, saying a lower court judge was wrong to grant it. Matthew Sagsveen, an attorney for the state, told justices that Burleigh County District Judge Bruce Romanick “misconstrued the law” […]
12 hours ago
A fan holds up a scarf prior the start of the World Cup group B soccer match between Iran and the U...
Associated Press

US, Iran fans mingle in Qatar ahead of World Cup clash

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Smiling U.S. and Iranian fans mingled and posed for photos outside a stadium in Doha ahead of a politically charged World Cup match on Tuesday. The atmosphere was generally festive though the political divisions among Iran fans were apparent outside Al Thumama Stadium, as they have been during previous Iran games […]
12 hours ago
This image released by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas shows Clarence Gilyard, Jr., Associate P...
Associated Press

Clarence Gilyard, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Matlock’ actor, dies at 66

NEW YORK (AP) — Clarence Gilyard Jr., a popular supporting actor whose credits include the blockbuster films “Die Hard” and “Top Gun” and the hit television series “Matlock” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” has died at age 66. His death was announced this week by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught stage and […]
12 hours ago
An Iranian flag and a scarf depicting U.S. flag are sold at the Souq Waqif Market in Doha, Qatar, T...
Associated Press

US-Iran match reflects a regional rivalry for many Arab fans

BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. team’s must-win World Cup match against Iran will be closely watched across the Middle East, where the two nations have been engaged in a cold war for over four decades and where many blame one or both for the region’s woes. Critics of Iran say it has fomented war and […]
12 hours ago
Associated Press

Ex-majority leader jailed for DUI is leaving Kansas Senate

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas lawmaker who was forced out of one of the state Senate’s most powerful jobs following an arrest for drunken driving and speeding the wrong way on two interstate highways is planning to leave the Legislature in early January. Former Senate Majority Leader Sen. Gene Suellentrop, a Wichita Republican, confirmed […]
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Mississippi capital to receive $35.6M in federal water funds