Water, sewer bills likely rising in Jackson - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Water, sewer bills likely rising in Jackson

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Large and costly water line breaks in the City of Jackson are one symptom of a bigger problem. The City has racked up clean water and waste water violations, year after year.

Now, through what's called a Consent Decree, the Environmental Protection Agency is now demanding that water standards be brought up to par. That means new infrastructure, and higher water and sewer bills for you.

"Our feet are to the fire. We have to do this," said Ward 7 Councilwoman Margaret Barrett-Simon.

If the City Council votes yes, water bills that average $15.54 a month will rise to $21 a month. Sewer bills that average $14.50 a month would more than double to $31 a month.

No one's smiling at that prospect, but some residents, like Adrian Travis of Northeast Jackson, admit something must be done.

"It is time. The infrastructure is really the issue," he says.

The infrastructure in some parts of the city dates back to 1912.

Negotiations with the EPA over the Consent Decree just ended, and Jackson will have to pay out roughly $350 million over 17 1/2 years to foot the bill for fines and water/sewer improvements.

"If we don't do what they're demanding of us, this could escalate up to $800 million, and that's where our crisis is," Barrett Simon says.

In the midst of the problems, Barrett Simon wants to dispel the rumor that Jackson drinking water is substandard. She says it's the safest in the state.

"Start drinking our good Jackson water. It's important," she says.

But Travis feels differently.

"Jackson water is just not clear. It comes out brown a lot. I'm just not into drinking brown water." 

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