The lawsuit was filed against multiple entities including the city of Jackson, former Mayor Tony Yarber, and current Mayor Chokwe Lumumba.
A lawsuit has been filed in Jackson to force the city to fix broken or dangerously aging water pipes that are contaminated with lead.
The class-action suit starts off by saying, “Access to clean, poison-free water is a fundamental human right.”
The filing goes on to add that the City of Jackson’s water supply has been neglected for decades which ultimately led to the shutdown in August 2022. This left over 150,000 residents without reliable, clean water for over a month.
The Mississippi State Department of Health first noted Hinds County as “high-risk for lead poisoning” in 2011, pointing out that children are especially susceptible to the lead. In 2016, the then Public Works Director confirmed that even Jackson’s cast-iron pipes contain lead joints every 20 feet. More tests in 2015 confirmed the high lead levels in some water samples.
Issues with the pH have also been cited in the city’s drinking water supply. The city was aware of the low-pH levels by late 2013 and early 2014.
Although the 2022 total shutdown of the water system is a crisis, it is not the first time in recent history that the system was unable to provide adequate supply of safe water. When the system had been delivering water, it contained unacceptably high levels of lead, E. Coli, and other contaminants.
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The lawsuit goes on to assert that when those issues were pointed out to Jackson leaders, municipal officials chose not to act or did not act appropriately. Furthermore, the filers say that city leaders knew the water situation was not fully safe and did not notify the public to that reality.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit were all residents of Jackson at some time and were poisoned by lead and other contaminants which were released into the cities drinking water, they claim. They are seeking damages for over $5 million.
Other defendants named in the suit include Kishia Powell, Robert Miller, Jerriot Smash, Siemens Corporation, Siemens Industry, Inc., and Trilogy Engineering Services LLC.
Read the full lawsuit below: