Oct 21, 2021

Jackson, Mississippi, & State Leaders Sued Over Lead in Drinking Water

The lawsuit represents more than 600 children seeking compensation for lead in drinking water contamination 

drinking water

Lawsuits have been filed against Jackson, Mississippi, and other former and current government officials due to the quality of the city’s drinking water. 

According to the lawsuits, the plaintiffs allege the city’s water has become contaminated with toxic lead, reported WJTV News. The plaintiffs are all children living in Jackson who are seeking damages for the violation of their constitutional rights.

The complaint was filed Oct. 19 and the lawsuit alleges city leaders discovered lead levels were going up in the well water in 2014. This resulted in the city switching its water source to the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir, without taking precaution to determine the quality and safety of the new water source. Jackson then switched back to the well water as its primary drinking source in August 2015.

The lawsuits were filed by Corey M. Stern, a partner at Levy Konigsberg. Jackson attorneys, Rogen K. Chhabra and Darryl M. Gibbs of the firm Chhabra & Gibbs, are also working with Stern and representing more than 600 children.

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One of the attorneys who filed the lawsuits, Corey M. Stern, is based in New York and has also represented people who sued over contaminated water in Flint, Michigan.

According to the plaintiffs in the complaint, the city did not notify neighbors of the issues with the well water or the Pearl River and Ross Barnett Reservoir water, reported WJTV News.

Jackson has been under a safe drinking water consent order with the U.S. EPA since July 1, reported The News Observer. This order sets a schedule for work on water treatment facilities and delivery systems. The EPA sent the city an emergency order over the water system in March 2020 and notices of noncompliance in May 2020 and April of this year. 

The consent order requires Jackson to determine the number of lead service distribution lines in its system and to plan for their replacement, reported The News Observer.

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