Reeves officially ends state of emergency over Jackson water crisis

Gov. Tate Reeves officially ended the state of emergency on Aug. 30 that surrounded a water crisis that left Jackson and the surrounding areas of Hinds County under weeks of prophecies of boiling water and little to no water pressure.

He issued the executive order Tuesday ending the emergency order.

Reeves had issued the 911 call after the two primary raw water pumps at OB Curtis’ water treatment plant in Ridgeland were removed for repair and the collapse of Jackson’s water system was imminent.

The Environmental Protection Agency determined on October 31 that the water from both the OB Curtis and JH Fewell water treatment plants was potable.

On November 17, the Jackson City Council voted to complete a year-long federal “interim injunction” by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding the city’s drinking water violations that includes a third-party administrator overseeing the system.

The injunction goes to a federal judge to officially go into effect.

In addition, on November 10, the City Council voted to approve an Contingency Agreement with WaterTalent LLC to provide temporary water utilities for both water treatment facilities. The contract is not to exceed $720,000 and runs through February 28, 2023.

In his press release announcing the end of the state of emergency, Reeves continued his attack on the city government over the system’s problems.

“The only remaining challenge ahead is the city’s refusal to hire routine maintenance personnel, and that cannot constitute a state emergency. We need new leadership at the top so this crisis of incompetence cannot continue,” he said.

“It is also clear that the federal government is working to ensure that Jackson’s political leadership does not have the authority to further tamper with the water system. This process must be completed, and it must be completed quickly. … I am confident that the federal government’s efforts to wrest control from incompetent hands will be completed quickly.”

Meanwhile, the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General is continuing its investigation, which began in September. It assesses the EPA’s response to Jackson’s drinking water violations and conducts an audit to determine how state and local spending decisions have impacted the recent water crisis.

Reeves’ executive order can be read in full here.

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