Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan speaks during a news conference at the Des Moines TCE Superfund Site, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

On Monday, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Michael Regan again met with Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba, this time alongside the U.S. Department of Justice, to plot the next course of action over the city’s water system.

“Assistant Attorney General Todd Kim from the Department of Justice and I met today with Mayor Lumumba to discuss the actions the federal government is prepared to take to help remedy this longstanding injustice,” Regan said in a press release. “During that meeting, I conveyed our desire to work with the City to reach a judicially enforceable agreement that ensures a sustainable water system in the mid- and long-terms.”

The release did not mention the agreement between the EPA and Jackson that’s already in place. The two parties signed an administrative order in 2021, which contains a list of 40 hiring and repair requirements outlined by the federal agency.

Mayor Lumumba recently said the EPA has been flexible in setting deadlines in that agreement. All of the original deadlines have since passed. Mississippi Today reached out to the EPA to ask which of those items the city has met so far, but was told by a spokesperson, “Due to the ongoing enforcement activities, we are unable to provide information related to the city’s compliance status.”

The two parties are also under a court-ordered non-disclosure agreement that prevents them from sharing a “very detailed plan” with a cost estimate for fixing the city’s water system, Jackson officials said recently. The EPA confirmed to Mississippi Today that there is a confidentiality order in place, but didn’t provide further detail.

The press release added that Jackson has issued roughly 300 boil water notices in the last two years.

New boil water notices hit over 1,200 customers

Since the state health department lifted the month and a half long boil water notice just 11 days ago, Jackson has since issued new boil water advisories for over 1,200 customers.

The city announced on Monday afternoon that a “contractor inadvertently severed the water line” for approximately 1,000 connections in Byram.

Jackson issued boil water notices for the other 200 connections because of line breaks caused by increased pressure in the system, officials said. Mayor Lumumba warned residents in early September that the worn down distribution system would be susceptible to such issues.

City workers, with assistance from the Mississippi Rural Water Association and teams from Maryland, Arkansas, Minnesota and South Carolina, have continued repairs at both of Jackson’s treatment plants. A Monday press release said the crews brought two of the raw water pumps back into service at O.B. Curtis before the weekend.

The city said on Monday that the following areas, including Byram, Belhaven, North Jackson, and Eastover, are currently under a boil water notice:

Byram:

  • [7300-8899] Gary Road, Byram: 39272   
  • Gary Drive 
  • Glen Haven Subdivision
  • Glennhaven Drive
  • Glennhaven Court
  • Glenn Oak Circle
  • Cedar Glenn Drive
  • Brank Creek Drive
  • Red Oak Cove
  • Cedar Glenn Cove 
  • Trelles Cove
  • Highland Cove
  • Azalea Cove
  • Glennwood Cove
  • Ridge Place
  • Redwood Cove 
  • Holybush Place
  • Glennoak Circle
  • Eagle Nest Subdivision 
  • Eagle Nest Drive 
  • Freedom Cove
  • Highpoint Drive
  • Mountain Crest Drive
  • Golden Eagle Drive
  • Talon Cove 
  • Canyon Cove 
  • Lake Ridgelea Subdivision
  • Turtle Road
  • Park Avenue
  • Mary Lane
  • Lake Shore Drive
  • Oak Avenue
  • Pike Avenue
  • Ridgelea Road
  • Lure Avenue
  • Meadow Lane
  • S. Ridge Road
  • E. Ridge Road
  • Bob White Street
  • Rod Street
  • Reel Street
  • Hook Street
  • W. Ridge Road
  • Horse Shoe Circle
  • Line Street 
  • Spinning Street 

Jackson:

  • [1200-2399] North State Street: 39202
  • [1600-1899] Pine St.
  • [700-799] Euclid St.
  • [700-799] Oakwood St.
  • [700-799] Fairview St.
  • [700-799] Arlington St.
  • [700-799] Pinehurst St.
  • [700-799] Gillespie St.
  • Popcorn Alley
  • Park Avenue
  • [1300-1399] Peachtree Street: 39202
  • [5300-5599] Highland Drive: 39206
  • [4300-4599] El Paso Street
  • Paso Cove

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include more streets impacted by the boil water notices because the City of Jackson released more locations after this story first published.


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Alex Rozier, from New York City, is Mississippi Today’s data and environment reporter. His work has appeared in the Boston Globe, Open Secrets, and on NBC.com. In 2019, Alex was a grantee through the Pulitzer Center’s Connected Coastlines program, which supported his coverage around the impact of climate change on Mississippi fisheries.