(Fwrd Axis) — In Jackson, Mississippi, a city of nearly 153,000 residents, a boil-water notice was issued July 30 followed by flooding caused by heavy rainfall in late August, which led to a chemical imbalance at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.
After one of the city’s water-treatment plants failed there was low or no water pressure leaving people without adequate water to drink, take baths, or flush their toilet. The city has restored water pressure, but Jackson residents are still struggling with contaminated water.
Molly Minta, a reporter with Mississippi Today, recently went viral when she tweeted a video of brown water coming from her home faucet.
“As they are able to increase the pressure at the plant to levels that it has not seen in many years, the challenge then becomes whether we have pipes that rupture across the city. We know that we have brittle pipes, we have aged pipes just as our water treatment facilities are aged.” -Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba
Jackson residents also went without water for weeks in February 2021 when pipes froze and burst during the deep freeze, and in 2020 the city’s water system failed an EPA inspection because their water harbored a potential for harmful bacteria and parasites.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, signed by President Biden in 2020, provided over $400 million to Mississippi for its water systems but after allocating funds across the state, it didn’t do much to offset the billions needed to fix the water problems in Jackson.
82.5% of Jackson is Black and the city has high poverty levels, that’s why local government doesn’t invest in infrastructure. Truth is, Jackson, Mississippi and Flint, Michigan are both revealing more than water issues, they’re exposing how residential segregation deprives majority-Black neighborhoods of access to essential services, including clean water.
“But one doesn’t often hear these stories in majority white communities. Years of government disinvestment in Black communities, years of disenfranchisement of Black residents and years of disregard for Black health and safety leads to problems like this.” -Tara Rocque, assistant director of the Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic
It’s no coincidence that predominantly Black communities all over the country have toxic water problems. It’s environmental racism.