JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – We have shared many times the list of core functions of city government. Providing reliable, safe water is included in that list of priorities.
Sadly, Jackson has failed miserably in fulfilling that responsibility due to a lack of leadership, lack of management, and lack of maintenance.
One of the factors that may have played a role in the most recent water crisis, is that the water treatment plant operation is not fully staffed. Now the Environmental Protection Agency wants answers, and the city could face tens of thousands of dollars in fines if they don’t comply.
The city should not be allowed to continue operating its water system after a lengthy history of systemic failure. The state or federal government should have stepped in years ago, but since we can’t rewind the clock, it is critical that they step in now and take control.
After the Flint Michigan Water Crisis, a follow-up report found the response to Flint’s drinking water contamination involved implementation and oversight lapses at the EPA, the state of Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Is that what is happening in Jackson? Is this a Flint déjà vu?
Jacksonians deserve safe drinking water, as do the businesses that operate in Jackson, including all of us who work at WLBT. We spend thousands of dollars each year purchasing bottled drinking water for our employees because we can’t trust that Jackson’s water is safe for our team to drink. And our business isn’t water dependent.
Think about all the businesses where water plays a critical part in daily operations – restaurants, hospitals, and schools just to name a few.
This is not a third-world country. We can and must do much, much better. We must find the resources and experts to fix the problem. It’s obvious we cannot count on Jackson’s leadership to make that happen.
It is imperative that the state or feds come in, take over the system and provide clean, safe water for Mississippi’s capital city.
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