The Biden Administration is is dedicating $115 million to Jackson, Mississippi to fix the city's decaying water infrastructure.
The Health Department placed Jackson under a boil water notice in July when it discovered cloudy, brown water exacerbated by old and often damaged pipes. In August, the water crisis was made worse when heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding damaged the city's largest water treatment plant.
Jackson's 150,000 residents -- 80 percent of whom are Black -- remained without clean drinking water until January of this year. In December, the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the city over their failure to restore clean and safe drinking water.
“While we have made a lot of progress, there is much more work to do to ensure that all Americans have access to clean water," Biden said in a statement. "Thanks to my Investing in America agenda, we’re already deploying record resources to communities all across America to replace lead pipes, improve water quality, and rebuild the Nation’s drinking water infrastructure, ensuring it can withstand the impacts of the climate crisis."
He added: “Until all our children can safely drink water from the tap, our fight for clean water must, and will, continue."
The crisis in Jackson has been deemed a case of "environmental racism," similar to that in Flint, Michigan where a majority-Black community's inadequate infrastructure tainted the drinking water for years. The Environmental Protection Agency's civil rights division, launched under the Biden Administration to combat such cases, brought the lawsuit on behalf of Jackson residents.
“Over the past year, I’ve had the privilege to spend time with people on the ground in Jackson–many who’ve struggled with access to safe and reliable water for years," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "I pledged that EPA would do everything in its power to ensure the people of Jackson have clean and dependable water, now and into the future. While there is much more work ahead, the Justice Department’s action marks a critical moment on the path to securing clean, safe water for Jackson residents."