Thursday, May 13, 2021

EPA Discusses While City Council Ducks

 Collection of all posts on EPA order.

 EPA representatives vaguely discussed an EPA order  at the Jackson City Council meeting Tuesday. The EPA issued the Emergency Administrative Order against the city's water treatment system after it found a pattern of neglect, malfunctioning equipment, and incompetence when it inspected Jackson's water treatment plants a year ago.  Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba hid the existence of the order until the media reported it a few weeks ago.  The EPA provided hardly any new information Tuesday while City Council members refused to ask questions. 


As expected, the EPA presentation was a bland affair.  One EPA representative merely said the Health Department referred the city to EPA for investigation of its water system.  The EPA inspected and found numerous violations.  This part of the presentation took only a few minutes.  The next EPA representative discussed various loan programs and grants that could help the city obtain funding to repair its water treatment system.  

Unfortunately, the City Council sat on its hands when it had a chance to question the EPA.  Ward 4 Councilman De'Keither Stamps asked if the city was current on its reporting requirements while Ward 3 Councilman Kenneth Stokes asked if the water is healthy enough to drink.  The EPA answered in the affirmative to both questions.  


WLBT provided the best coverage of the event as one Anthony Warren showed a pit bull streak that rarely appeared at the Northside Sun

Tuesday, members of the Jackson City Council had a chance to question the EPA on whether Jackson’s water was safe and whether the city was in compliance with federal water quality law.

Instead, when it came time to ask questions of the federal regulatory agency, only two council members spoke up.

And when those council members did ask questions, EPA officials gave vague answers, sidestepping any specifics....

However, little new ground was broken during the presentation, and council members refused to ask EPA officials some of the same questions that they had asked the mayor only weeks before.

“We just needed to listen - it is a regulatory agency,” Ward Seven Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay said.

Ward One Councilman Ashby Foote, meanwhile, said he didn’t want to question the EPA in that setting but did not explain why the setting was inappropriate.

“My beef is not with the EPA but with the administration for not disclosing this situation a year ago,” he said....

 She also said that the city could expect an additional order to be handed down in the future, one that would include long-term mandates to bring Jackson water into compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Ward Three Councilman Kenneth Stokes asked how long the city would be given to make repairs to its system and how much it would take to bring it into compliance.

He also asked EPA officials how long they would want their families to drink Jackson water with the system in its current condition.

“Our citizens want to make sure the water they drink is safe. We need to get it fixed as quickly as possible,” Stokes said. “What kind of timeframe would you want your family to be under to have the water they drink to be safe?”

She would not say how long the timeframe should be, but said EPA tries “to set a timeframe that is physically possible and practical to repair that system while continuing to provide safe drinking water.”

As for whether Jackson’s water was safe, she said Jackson had complied with the emergency order and that the changes put in place in response to that order “are providing in this immediate time, safe drinking water.”... Rest of article.

WAPT's Ross Adams reported: 

The city has been working with the agency for over a year to fix the problems that first raised questions about water quality.

EPA regional leader Carol Kemker told the Jackson City Council members through a virtual meeting Tuesday the water system over a year ago contained murky, cloudy drinking water or high turbidity.

"High turbidity in drinking water can hide bacteria and viruses and make disinfection harder," Kemker said. Rest of article.

 The Clarion-Ledger finally published a story on the subject after avoiding it for weeks: 

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday spelled out significant concerns with the city's water system, including necessary fixes to maintain safe drinking water, following the worst water crisis Jackson has seen in recent history. 

EPA administrators in their first public appearance with city officials said it will take both short-term and long-term fixes to remedy the system, a prospect that will require millions of dollars of funding.

The visit follows an inspection by the federal agency, along with the state Department of Health, in February of last year that found several severe violations at the city's two water treatment plants, the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Facility and the J.H. Fewell Water Treatment Facility. 

The health department, which oversees water quality across the state, later referred the  inspection findings back to the EPA to take the lead on enforcement, and the EPA sent the city a list of required fixes, although no time table was cited.

The deficiencies at the plant, which ranged from a shortage of operators to malfunctioning equipment, raised immediate concerns about the reliability of the system to provide safe drinking water, said Carol Kemker, the director of the Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division of the agency. ...

The concerns prompted an emergency order under the Safe Drinking Water Act, she warned the council, which is meant to stem "an impending dangerous condition from materializing or reduce or eliminate a dangerous situation." 

The city will be under the order until the EPA determines all violations have been rectified. Rest of article.

However, the state newspaper is still the only major media outlet that did not publish a copy of the EPA Emergency Administrative Order. 

WJTV as usual mailed it in.  
During the Jackson City Council meeting on Tuesday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) gave a presentation on the status of the city’s water.

According to the EPA, Jackson’s water is safe to drink, and the city is doing what they’re supposed to do to address compliance issues.

Representatives from the agency said the Jackson Public Works Department and city representatives have participated in bi-weekly meetings to discuss progress and develop a long term plan.

The EPA offers funding opportunities to help address the problems outlined in the order. Public Works Director Dr. Charles Williams said the city has applied for the available grants and loans.

“Those loans have currently been approved by the health department, and we’re going for a third loan that was on a resolution at the last council meeting. So that’s about $27 million. All of those efforts will be utilized to address the issues with the plant and also the water distribution system,” said Williams.

If Jackson neighbors would like to report problems with their drinking water, they can call the city’s 311 Action Line. Rest of article and video.
 Kingfish note: Once again, the Jackson City Council abdicated its oversight responsibility.



Anonymous said...

Warren has some chops but sacred cow herd owner Wyatt Emmerich called the shots and pulls more punches than thrown in a prize fight. Really, in many ways, exactly how Donna Ladd carries water, covers butts and thinks her readers are too stupid to see what she is doing. Judin, for instance, will have to leave her club team like sooooooo many others have before him in order to realize his true potential and be justly compensated.

PittPanther said...

What exactly do you believe the council should have asked of the EPA?

Anonymous said...

AT least one person should have asked the EPA "What could go wrong?"

Anonymous said...

Chowke called Bennie who called Crazy Joe (Harris) who called the EPA and told them to lay off Jackson.

Anonymous said...

Picture a Marshall Ramsey cartoon, featuring Lumumba piloting the Titanic while the EPA rearranges the deck chairs and the City Council heads for lifeboats.

Anonymous said...

Question number 2 would have been who is doing the testing. Number 3 would have been are they qualified and number 4 would be can they be trusted or, are they part of Lala's coverup, hiding information. However you'd like to classify Lala's actions regarding the March 2020 report.

Anonymous said...

Imagine if a White mayor was doing this to his African-American constituency. Imagine the outrage!

Anonymous said...

Marshall is on the dark side now.

Anonymous said...

"Anthony Warren showed a pit bull streak that rarely appeared at the Northside Sun" - Nah, he's always had that streak and not in a good way. Mr. mild mannered community newspaper boy on the outside, but out to get the unsubstantiated gossip for the front page.
Didn't know he was gone. Maybe he will become relevant at his new post.

11:29, Hi Judin's mom.
I agree on Emmerich's one-sided, uninformed, opinionated, editorial punch.
He should stick with debutantes and garden clubs.

Anonymous said...

12:37 is right on target. The Ds in DC will cover for the brother and one day some people as well as bunnies will start dying from poison.

BO-RING said...

Who the hell wants to read a 'collection of all related threads'?

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

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Trollfest '07

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