Homeowners eye up to $200 million for Jackson water crisis

Jackson’s 150,000 residents were without drinking water for weeks this summer after the Pearl River flood caused the system’s water pressure to drop. The city has also issued a series of boil water orders throughout the year due to the unsafe water quality.

Jackson’s Water The system, which was built in 1914, is in a deplorable state of disrepair, according to a 2020 EPA study. The total cost of upgrading it is unclear, but estimates range up to $1 billion dollars. The city has not developed a long-term plan to solve its problems. Thompson said $200 million is “what seems reasonable” now, absent a plan.

The two Republican senators from Mississippi, Roger Osier and Cindy Hyde Smith, both voiced support for including additional funds for the Jackson water system in the appropriations bill. Earlier this month, Hyde-Smith slammed the Biden administration for not including money for Jackson in its funding request.

None of their offices responded to a request for comment on whether they supported the $200 million figure.

The details: The proposed legislation would not send the money through the federal government’s main drinking water funding mechanism, the EPA’s state revolving fund, but rather through a separate granting authority. This would allow the EPA to work directly with the city, bypassing the state government.

The wording also allows the funds to be used for more than just capital projects, where federal water infrastructure dollars are generally directed. It could also be used to relieve the city of past water debt and to pay for operations and maintenance—items that federal funding is not otherwise allowed to cover.

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