Report: Nearly a half billion gallons of raw sewage leaked into the Pearl River during 2020 flood

Updated: May. 27, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Almost half a billion gallons of raw sewage has landed into the Pearl River in the first 3 months of this year.

This information comes in now from a quarterly report from the City of Jackson, but it could be too late.

Abby Braman with Pearl Riverkeeper said the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has not followed the rules of an EPA consent decree properly.

“MDEQ since 2013 when the consent decree was issued. They had not issued a single Water contact advisory to warn people that the sanitary sewer overflow issue was happening. In fact, it wasn’t until the spring of 2019 through lobbying by Pearl Riverkeeper that they issued the first water content advisory,” said Braman.

The advisory Braman mentions is still online. MDEQ told us those advisories, dating back almost a year, are still in place.

“We feel like that is insufficient notification to the public. We asked MDEQ to reissue the water content advisory in some way and notify the public again. MDEQ declined to do so,” said Braman.

We also reached out to the City of Jackson's public works department.

They have not responded as to why they didn’t issue a more current advisory either.

Braman knows the city was dealing with serious flood issues at the time, but the information needs to be out sooner.

“MDEQ needs to enforce the law. We need City of Jackson to comply now. I know they’re struggling that was an unprecedented time period of the first quarter when we had so much rain. I understand that they’re having issues with the public needs to know about them,” she said.

Braman believes with prompt advisories, people will be able to make better decisions on how and when to go to the river.

Copyright 2020 WLBT. All rights reserved.