News Briefs: Mississippi Men Indicted for Discharging Industrial Waste Into Jackson Sewer System

Also in this week's sewer and water news, the City of Jackson, Mississippi, is targeting $100 million in federal funding to address its water crisis

Two Rankin County, Mississippi, men appeared in federal court recently on felony charges of illegally discharging industrial waste into the Jackson sewer system, conspiracy, and making false statements, announced U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca and Special Agent in Charge Charles Carfagno with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division’s Southeast Area Branch. 

A nine-count federal indictment was unsealed in Jackson charging the two men with carrying out a scheme whereby industrial waste from their company was discharged illegally into the sewer.

If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison on count 1 of the indictment, three years in prison on each of counts 2-6 of the indictment, and five years in prison on each of counts 7-9.

Jackson Targets Extensive Federal Funding to Address Water Crisis

The City of Jackson, Mississippi, is taking an active stance in responding to its current water crisis. The mayor’s office has its sights on over $100 million in federal funding that will be immediately available to advance efforts to repair, upgrade and modernize the city’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Earlier this year, $5 million was provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers through the Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act. Congressman Bennie Thompson and Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith successfully included $20 million in supplemental appropriations in Congress’ Continuing Resolution on Sept. 30. These funds will come directly to the city of Jackson for water infrastructure projects along with $4 million in state and tribal assistance grants through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On the same day, the City of Jackson submitted applications for funding under the American Rescue Plan Act and match funding through the Mississippi Municipality & County Water Infrastructure Grant Program totaling over $71 million.

In addition to the funds already secured, the city is also pursuing a Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities Grant offered through FEMA for undertaking hazard mitigation projects that will reduce the risks faced from disasters and natural hazards. The maximum possible BRIC grant available to Jackson is $50 million for construction with a portion of that expected to be secured in early 2023 to begin design work.

“We know that the condition of Jackson’s water system didn’t happen overnight but is due to decades of disinvestment in the city’s infrastructure,” says Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba. “The solution must address the immediate issues, but also provide long-term investments that will help us reimagine Jackson’s water infrastructure.”

Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Action Plan Released by EPA

The U.S. EPA recently released its Lagoon Wastewater Treatment Action Plan supporting small, rural and tribal communities.

The Lagoon Action Plan identifies key actions the EPA will implement through 2026 to assist small communities with lagoon wastewater treatment systems. Many lagoon communities are low income and economically disadvantaged. The EPA says it will actively support states, tribes,

territories, and others in their work with these small lagoon communities; identify and assist communities that can benefit from the historic infrastructure investments in the Bipartisan

Infrastructure Law and other financial and technical assistance; and help address public health and water quality concerns associated with ammonia and nutrients to improve compliance with the Clean Water Act.

To read the full plan, visit this link.


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