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Lack of State Financial Support and Local Capacity Prolonged Jackson, Mississippi Drinking Water Issues

Report Number
24-P-0038

Why We Did This Report

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Inspector General conducted this audit to identify federal funding and spending decisions related to drinking water in Jackson, Mississippi. Specifically, our audit objective was to identify award and expenditure decisions at the state and local level related to the community water system in Jackson. 

Summary of Findings

The City of Jackson’s funding for its water system did not address the capacity issues at the O.B. Curtis Water Treatment Plant, leading to chronic problems with operations and maintenance. Various Jackson departments did not effectively communicate the water system’s capacity issues internally, which only served to exacerbate the problems facing O.B. Curtis and the city’s water system. In addition, while the Mississippi State Department of Health, or MSDH, took informal compliance and enforcement actions with Jackson, it did not provide additional technical assistance to Jackson through the Local Assistance and Other State Programs set-aside. We also found that the MSDH could have been more proactive in the years leading up to Jackson’s water system failure in providing flexible Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan options for disadvantaged communities like Jackson. The MSDH did not make these flexible loan and subsidy options available to disadvantaged communities, including Jackson, until after June 2021. Also, only after Jackson requested a refinance in October 2022 did the MSDH approve refinancing the city’s DWSRF loans. 

Report Type
Location(s)

Jackson, MS
United States