For a few months now, the city of Jackson, Mississippi has had insufficient or completely unavailable access to water. It’s been months of boil water notices and weeks without water, and four town residents have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state.

According to The Clarion-Ledger, the lawsuit seeks damages against ““various government and private engineering defendants over the neglect, mismanagement, and maintenance failures that led to an environmental catastrophe leaving more than 153,000 Jackson-area residents without access to safe running water.” The lawsuit alleges they have been in crisis for years.

Lieff Cabraser, the plaintiff’s attorney, said that “all families are entitled to clean and safe drinking water. Government officials turning a blind eye to contaminated water and letting a major American city’s infrastructure crumble into disrepair is neither representing nor caring for its people. This lawsuit seeks to bring justice — and safe, clean water — to the Jackson community.”

Last August, more than 150,000 Jackson residents were reportedly without water for weeks. Mississippi’s governor, Tate Reeves, had declared a state of emergency in Jackson a little under a month ago, urging residents not to drink water until further notice. While it seems that things have gotten better for the city in the past few weeks, amid federal intervention urged by President Joe Biden, this lawsuit is sure to tackle the more systemic issues that allowed the crisis to endanger citizens in the first place.

The town of Jackson is home to over 163,000 residents, with over 80% of them being Black. For years, the city has struggled with inadequate infrastructure and a lack of available resources for proper sustainability. According to a New York Times report, boil water notices were given a month before the crisis was declared an emergency. As of now, water is safe to drink in Jackson homes, and we will see if this lawsuit results in a positive change for the city’s community.