Jackson Busted by EPA For Dumping Barely Treated Sewage into the Pearl River

The Jackson City Council in Mississippi approved a consent decree with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to spend around $400 million to rebuild its sewage system over the coming years and to pay a fine.

The EPA has been negotiating the decree with the city of Jackson, Miss. for two years,  the local newspaper reported.

The city was allegedly bypassing sewage treatment at its Savannah Street plant, dumping much of it into the Pearl River with only rudimentary chlorine treatment.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality fined the city $240,000 in 2010 for similar violations.

“Let me just say that this has happened all across the country,” Mayor Harvey Johnson Jr. said after the meeting. “We’re not in this boat alone, but we’re very pleased that our negotiating team was able to craft this deal. We were talking about much more money, initially, and less time to fix the problem.”

The council decision came after a hotly contested 3-2 vote, with one councilman complaining that no agreement should have been reached before a decision on how the money to pay for the improvements could be raised.  He seemed to argue that raising taxes or water rates was not acceptable.

The decree will commit the city to replacing crumbling sewer lines and faulty treatment equipment that state and city officials say have been in need of upgrades for years.

Mayor Johnson is correct that similar situations are occurring “all across the country,” as infrastructures age and the “no new taxes” viewpoint persists.

Read the entire article here.