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Lumumba responds to EPA report on Jackson water treatment plants

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 10:36 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is responding to an EPA report on the city’s water treatment facilities.

The Mayor says there is a whole discussion taking place that is ill informed about the report and what it means for the city’s water.

Mayor Lumumba said, “to the level of conspiracy that it would require, right? In order for us to be giving bad water is not only the conspiracy of the City of Jackson, and all of the wonderful people that work each and every day to make sure that they produce good water, it would have to be the conspiracy of the Health Department. It would have to be the conspiracy of the EPA to allow that to happen.”

Mayor Lumumba says there has been a lot of talk about an EPA report but much of what has been said is not factual.

“There has not been a quality test with the Jackson water that has demonstrated that the quality of our water is poor. Right? What has happened is that they have challenged what could happen if we don’t change the process by which we do water. Right? A lot of that is things like how we automate the feed system that puts the chemicals in the water. Instead of doing it through a manual process. We have treatment facilities, one of which is a hundred years old and was never imagined to be automated. So we now we have to retrofit at a very high expense that facility. And that is what is taking place,” said Mayor Lumumba.

The Mayor tells us the EPA continues to work with the city.

“They are more optimistic over the trajectory in which we’re going in today because we communicate, because we don’t hide things, because we’re saying look this is where we have failures. This is where we need support. This is where we need support in terms of resources. Financial resources for equipment. This is where we need support in terms of the people-power that we need to help operate our plant,” said the Mayor.

On finding quality workers, the mayor says they must be Class A operators and they are difficult to find.

Mayor Lumumba said, “the City of Jackson’s water treatment facility is the only one of its kind in the state of Mississippi. We have the largest water treatment facility in the state. It requires Class A operators which you can’t get from any other city because they don’t need the same type, they don’t need the same level of expertise there. And so that becomes a challenge in how we find people to help support our water treatment facility.”

Mayor Lumumba says it is vitally important that residents are given factual and accurate information.

“We are, you know, finding how do we ultimately build a plant that is able to respond to not only the requirements of the EPA but respond, not only is updated in a way that responds and deals with outdated technology but also responds to the new challenges that we see today”, said Mayor Lumumba.

Mayor Lumumba says those challenges include weatherization for the water system and that the system can withstand situations like the winter weather in February.

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