Jackson, Mississippi, residents have filed a lawsuit against the city over water problems

The 99-page complaint, filed last week, seeks an unspecified amount in relief “to remedy the harm caused by the lack of access to safe water,” it says.

The plaintiffs are also asking for the pipes to be repaired; canceled or unpaid water bills; a system to regularly test the city’s water; Establish medical testing of lead in a person’s body for residents exposed to unsafe water; and establish community health systems.

CNN has reached out to the defendants named in the lawsuit for comment.

The city was under a boil water advisory and the pumps at its main water treatment facility were already damaged when flooding last month caused the system to almost completely fail, leaving residents without water to drink, cook or flush toilets. Residents had to queue for hours to get cases of water.

But Jackson’s water problems are years old. The system failed an Environmental Protection Agency inspection in early 2020, when the agency found that the water had the potential to harbor harmful bacteria or parasites.

Last year, many residents were without water for months after pipes froze and burst during a February storm.

At the heart of the problem are systemic problems: aging pipes and leaks, malfunctioning sewage treatment plants and not enough money to fix the problems, according to a report by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting published in January by the Clarion Ledger.

The lawsuit was filed on September 16, more than 40 days after the last boil water order was lifted.

“The city of Jackson’s water supply has been neglected for decades, and in August 2022 it completely shut off, leaving more than 150,000 residents, 82.5% of whom are black and more than 24% of whom live in poverty, without running water.” he said the case.

“These residents lack drinking water or water for dusting, cooking, showering or washing clothes. The city’s pipes were without water pressure for a long time, and they could not facilitate the flow of water, the residents said. Jackson could not flush the toilets for days. at the same time,” the lawsuit claims.

Even before the latest crisis, the city’s water was “unfit for human consumption due to high levels of lead and other contaminants,” the complaint says.

The EPA is investigating water problems in the city.