Federal funding now available to help improve water quality in Mississippi communities

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 7:28 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -Millions in federal funds will soon flow into the magnolia state that is earmarked for water. However, it will extend beyond the capital city.

More than $20 million in federal funds will soon be available in Mississippi in the form of grants to help improve water quality, and we’re not just talking about Jackson. Congressman Bennie Thompson says it’s not nearly enough money, but it’s a start.

“A lot of communities don’t meet the standard,” noted Thompson. “So, what we are trying to do is incentivize communities to begin to get their drinking water to meet those standards.”

The EPA says the grant money is intended to address contaminants in drinking water, specifically in small rural communities. Fayette’s Mayor is hoping to benefit from the money.

“We do have trouble with making sure that we have clean, safe drinking water,” explained Fayette Mayor Londell Eanochs.”I want to say thank you to the State of Mississippi and our legislators for actually providing us a couple of CDBG grants (Community Development Block Grants) to be able to help us with those contaminants, but the funding is not enough. We still need more funding to be able to take care of those problems.”

It’s an issue the EPA administrator discussed on one of his visits to the state last year.

“So that every person in this country can access safe, affordable, clean drinking water,” noted EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

This money is separate from the millions you’ve heard discussed for Jackson’s water infrastructure. There are questions about what that governance structure will look like when the court-appointed administrator has left. On that issue, Thompson says he’s happy to see the progress but:

“I’m not happy that the Mississippi State Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, is trying to take it how you gonna take it, and you didn’t put any money in it,” added Thompson. “And so we didn’t have to put the $600 million into the system if the state of Mississippi had done what it should have been doing all along.”

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