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EPA launches investigation as water issues continue in Jackson

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Discolored water and pressure issues continue to show up across Jackson as the capital city progresses past the second week of the ongoing water crisis. According to officials, isolated reports involving dark and light brown water have been gathered in several areas of the city, with the issues being said to relate to routine water leaks or meter issues.

Despite the intermittent problems with the city’s water quality, state and city officials have announced that overall production at the O.B. Curtis Water Plant has risen following several repairs made over the weekend.

During a press conference on Monday, Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba stated that he expects the boil water notice to be lifted sooner than expected.

“There is some optimism around those investigatory sampling,” Lumumba explained. “We are optimistic that we are looking at days, not weeks, before we can expect the boil water notice to be lifted.”

The boil water notice first began in July, with the emergency declaration being made days following the flooding of the Pearl River in late August.

Now, managerial operations leading up to the failure of the city’s water plant are being investigated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Inspector General. The inspector general is expected to report any instances of mismanagement, abuse, fraud, waste, misconduct, and more that have occurred at the water plant.

Lumumba added in his press conference that he has spoken with the EPA and has asked city employees to comply during the investigation.

“I just shared with them to cooperate. That’s all I know. I don’t know the scope, I don’t know the timeline that they’re looking at,” Lumumba said.

The investigation was not mentioned by EPA Administrator Michael Regan during the press conference with Governor Tate Reeves, Lumumba, and Regan.

RELATED: Officials meet with EPA administrator to discuss Jackson water crisis

Now, the city has begun to make plans to fix Jackson’s long-term water issues as short-term solutions are being provided by outside sources.

On Thursday, the Jackson City Council voted unanimously to spend the estimated $27 million to $34 million in remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to resolve the city’s water and sewage issues.

A few days later, the Hinds County supervisors awarded the capital city an additional $17.5 million in ARPA money to the project, granting $6 million to fix the water mains in South Jackson and $11.5 million to construct a new water storage tank. The tank is expected to provide water to supply the new jail that is planned to be built on McDowell Road, as well as Jackson residents.

MEMA looking to hire project manager for O.B. Curtis water treatment plant

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