Lawsuits: Mississippi capital city's water harms children

Jackson, Mississippi residents gather to receive bottles of drinking water, Photo Date: March 2, 2021. Credit: CBS This Morning / YouTube.

Two new lawsuits claim hundreds of children have been exposed to dangerous lead levels through the drinking water in Mississippi’s capital city.

Posted: Oct 20, 2021 3:59 PM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two new lawsuits claim hundreds of children have been exposed to dangerous lead levels through the drinking water in Mississippi's capital city, which has been facing water system problems for years.

One lawsuit represents one child, while the other seeks to be a class action with about 600 children as plaintiffs. The suits, filed Tuesday in federal court in Jackson, say the city of Jackson and the state Health Department have made “conscience-shocking decisions and have shown deliberate indifference that have led to Plaintiffs' exposure to toxic lead in Jackson's drinking water.”

“Access to clean drinking water should be a fundamental right in this country,” one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuits, Corey M. Stern, said in a news release. Stern is based in New York and has represented people who sued over tainted water in Flint, Michigan.

Attorneys for Jackson are reviewing the lawsuits and “the city will eventually have a response," city spokesman Justin Vicory said Wednesday.

The lawsuits seek unspecified amounts of money for punitive damages and compensatory damages, plus attorneys' fees and "other relief the Court deems appropriate.”

Jackson has about 160,000 residents, and the city has longstanding problems with water quality and distribution.

Since July 1, Jackson has been under a safe drinking water consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which sets a schedule for work on water treatment facilities and delivery systems.

The EPA examined Jackson’s water treatment plants in February 2020 at the request of the state Health Department. The agency found conditions presented “an imminent and substantial endangerment to the persons served by the system.”

The EPA sent the city an emergency order over the water system in March 2020, along with notices of noncompliance in May 2020 and April of this year. The consent order requires Jackson to determine the number of lead service distribution lines in its system and to develop a plan for gradually replacing them.

When a severe cold snap hit large parts of the South early this year, parts of Jackson’s water system froze. That left thousands of customers without running water for weeks, forcing some businesses to close. Once service was restored, some customers still had to boil water for a month.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 512632

Reported Deaths: 10262
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34853555
DeSoto33162432
Hinds32556641
Jackson24830389
Rankin22442402
Lee16238242
Madison14874283
Jones14086247
Forrest13741259
Lauderdale12249324
Lowndes11286193
Lamar10644140
Pearl River9707244
Lafayette8827143
Hancock7835132
Washington7550169
Oktibbeha7204138
Monroe6989179
Pontotoc6970109
Warren6849178
Panola6746134
Neshoba6726210
Marshall6653141
Bolivar6440151
Union633897
Pike5924156
Alcorn5862107
Lincoln5525136
George510180
Prentiss500884
Tippah490282
Itawamba4829107
Scott477499
Adams4766125
Tate4748116
Leflore4723144
Copiah455895
Yazoo455591
Simpson4543117
Wayne442772
Covington432895
Sunflower4299106
Marion4265112
Coahoma4227109
Leake413790
Newton395581
Tishomingo381793
Grenada3775109
Stone365666
Jasper340166
Attala337790
Winston317792
Chickasaw313367
Clay311878
Clarke301195
Calhoun284449
Holmes271289
Smith268952
Yalobusha243747
Tallahatchie231453
Greene224749
Walthall221366
Lawrence217840
Perry213356
Amite209557
Webster205148
Noxubee188642
Montgomery181557
Carroll174441
Jefferson Davis173643
Tunica163239
Benton152639
Kemper144941
Choctaw136527
Claiborne134238
Humphreys131139
Franklin124929
Quitman107528
Wilkinson105939
Jefferson96834
Sharkey65121
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845108

Reported Deaths: 16115
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161242006
Mobile741961379
Madison53291732
Shelby38328368
Baldwin38074589
Tuscaloosa36017641
Montgomery34483781
Lee25557263
Calhoun22585518
Morgan22454406
Etowah20016517
Marshall18781316
Houston17729425
St. Clair16880358
Limestone16138218
Cullman16050303
Elmore15904294
Lauderdale14984306
Talladega14191299
DeKalb12971269
Walker12029380
Blount10715192
Autauga10517157
Jackson10161194
Coffee9415192
Colbert9341208
Dale9018191
Tallapoosa7255201
Russell707865
Chilton7018170
Escambia6955143
Covington6933195
Franklin6342108
Chambers5784142
Marion5403130
Dallas5285209
Pike5118109
Clarke484986
Lawrence4826129
Winston4780110
Geneva4642136
Bibb434094
Barbour369480
Butler3434100
Marengo342393
Monroe337066
Randolph334367
Pickens333188
Fayette330085
Henry320666
Hale318389
Cherokee317763
Crenshaw260477
Washington257052
Cleburne254460
Lamar251453
Clay250869
Macon244764
Conecuh192862
Coosa185047
Lowndes178168
Wilcox177438
Bullock152645
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 38°
Columbus
Clear
41° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 41°
Oxford
Clear
45° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 42°
Starkville
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 34°
High pressure will continue to control our weather forecast for the next several days. This will keep our area filled with plenty of sunshine. We will see both daytime highs and overnight lows gradually get milder and warmer.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather