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Federal judge indicates Henifin to be...

Federal judge indicates Henifin to be appointed to oversee Jackson sewer system

By: Sarah Ulmer - May 11, 2023

Third-party administrator Ted Henifin speaks at the Two Mississippi Museums in Jackson on January 27, 2023.

A federal judge has cited his intention to place Jackson’s sewer system under control of the interim third party manager of the city’s water, Ted Henifin.

U.S. District Court Judge Henry Wingate announced his intention to put Ted Henifin in charge of sewer in Jackson on Tuesday. He said he plans to draft a resolution within the next two weeks for the order.

“To say we’re going to allow this to fester for months means we’re not being as forthright as we could be,” said Judge Wingate. “You are experts at this point. You did the water thing. Since you have that as your guidepost, I don’t see how difficult it [will be] to craft something to get us moving on this matter.”

Wingate originally approved the order to place an interim over the city’s water system in November of 2022. He made the move after a major water system failure hit Jackson in August of that year.

Last week the city of Jackson filed an update report with Judge Wingate showing that the city has still not come into compliance with regulations.

The report shows that 250 sanitary sewer overflows that have not been addressed. The federal government fines the city of Jakcson for each overflow into the Pearl River.

“I don’t think anybody disagrees that the sewage system is in trouble. Arguably, the system is worse than it was in 2013,” said city Attorney Catoria Martin.

The city has already entered into a sewer consent decree. this is comprised of steps Jackson will take to address the issues.

The decree is expected to cost upwards of $400 million. Martin says this price tag is another reason more progress has not been made.

“Since 2013, at no point has the city had $800 million to fund wastewater,” she said. “We tried the best to comply with the resources we had available. We’ve spent money and time to study the collection system and send reports, but [that has] not allowed us to spend money on the collection system.”

Martin said it could take the city up to 3 years to get these problems fixed, according to WLBT.

For now, Henifin said he plans to hire outside contractors to make repairs to water pipes. If placed in charge of the sewer system, he said he would run it very similar to the water.

About the Author(s)
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Sarah Ulmer

Sarah is a Mississippi native, born and raised in Madison. She is a graduate of Mississippi State University, where she studied Communications, with an emphasis in Broadcasting and Journalism. Sarah’s experience spans multiple mediums, including extensive videography with both at home and overseas, broadcasting daily news, and hosting a live radio show. In 2017, Sarah became a member of the Capitol Press Corp in Mississippi and has faithfully covered the decisions being made by leaders on some of the most important issues facing our state. Email Sarah: