The NAACP praised the EPA’s action.
“EPA’s decision today is a significant first step in holding the state accountable for its role in exacerbating the Jackson water crisis,” said NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Director Abré Conner. “For too long, Jackson residents, like black communities across this country, have had access to water weaponized against them.”
The city of approximately 150,000 people is 83% black.
CNN has reached out to Governor Tate Reeves’ office for comment.
The water crisis became so severe for several months this year that the National Guard was sent to help distribute bottled water in Mississippi’s capital city.
For the past six months, sometimes her toilets wouldn’t flush or the water coming out of the faucets in the house was brown and had low pressure, she said.
The city has long had problems with its water system. Residents and activists point to it as one of the main drivers of years of systemic neglect. Some capitals have accused the state of failing to respond to requests for help to upgrade the poor water system.
According to the latest figures from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the annual bill for the state’s water crisis has reached $12.6 million. Bottled water for distribution events is about 25% of that amount.
CNN’s Steve Almasy, Nicquel Terry Ellis and Eliott C. McLaughlin contributed to this report.