Officials met with members of Mississippi’s federal delegation earlier in the day.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, Mayor of Jackson Chokwe Lumumba, and EPA Administrator Michael Regan held a press conference to discuss the Jackson water crisis.
Earlier in the day, the three met with U.S. Senators Cindy Hyde-Smith and Roger Wicker, and U.S. Representatives Bennie Thompson and Michael Guest, to discuss the urgency of working together in supporting the people of Jackson and developing near and long-term plans to stabilize the water system.
Governor Reeves said he appreciates the EPA Administrator coming to Jackson. The Governor said Administrator Regan had conversations with those in the community and visited the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant.
“And then we had a very productive meeting here,” Reeves said. “Really the conversation we had was largely focused on both the intermediate and long term.”
Reeves said that much of the conversation was about unleashing and unlocking monies that are available through the traditional funding sources as well as through other sources as well.
Mayor Lumumba described the conversation with the Mississippi delegation as “fruitful.”
“One of the things that is most important to me was the component of us continuing to lean in together, making certain that we have some frequency of discussion to make certain that everything is flowing as it should,” Lumumba said.
The EPA Administrator said that they had a good conversation about working in a coordinated fashion.
EPA Administrator Regan said that Jackson, like many cities across the country, has had a fragile water system.
“It’s our job to ensure that every person in this country has access to clean drinking water,” Regan said. “So, some of these structural issues actually existed prior to, I don’t think that’s a secret. I think when we look at this flooding situation, I think if we look at increasing evidence of climate change and intense storms, we’re going to see even more stresses on these fragile water systems.”
“So we do have to walk and chew gum at the same time,” Regan added. “We have to be able to look at the repairs that need to take place on a normal basis, but we also have to begin to make investments to ensure that not only we build functioning water systems, but that they are more resilient to the types of storms that we’re seeing as we move forward.”
Governor Reeves said that investigative testing on the water is being done, but it will take about three days to get the entire system flushed out and producing clean water.
“And that’s with everything working perfectly,” Reeves continued. “I don’t think Friday is a realistic goal, but I do think as you get into the weekend and into early next week, we will have a better idea of the samples and what the quality looks like.”
Governor Reeves said that there is a general, broad agreement that the water being produced today is cleaner than it has been in a “long, long time” and the pressures are better today than they have been in a “long, long” time.
“The actual call on is the water clean enough to not have a boil water notice is typically, and will continue to be made, by the State Department of Health because they are the regulator,” the Mississippi Governor explained.