Jackson has agreed to improve its water system to prevent the overflow of raw sewage, impacting Madison and Ridgeland.

Officials have been pushing for years for the city of Jackson to meet standards of the federal Clean Water Act. A settlement was announced Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The city must develop plans to improve management, operation and maintenance of its sewer system. It will have to prevent raw sewage from bypassing its largest wastewater treatment facility - a particular problem during heavy rainfall.

The Justice Department says assistance will be available to residents to repair sewer connections in low-income areas where overflows of untreated sewage have occurred.

The city will pay a civil penalty of $437,916.

Sewage from both Ridgeland and Madison is treated in Jackson.