City of Jackson continues water sampling, 13 homes have elevated lead levels

City of Jackson continues water sampling, 13 homes have elevated lead levels
Published: Sep. 12, 2016 at 8:41 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2016 at 8:59 PM CDT
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Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) - As part of the City of Jackson's continued efforts to meet the requirements of the Compliance Plan issued by the Mississippi State Department of Health and in compliance with the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule, the City recently conducted another round of water sampling for lead and copper in drinking water and has received the results.

Of 120 samples taken at homes throughout the City, 13 showed elevated levels of lead exceeding the action level of 15 parts per billion. The city says these residents have been notified.

City officials say it is important to note the results are home dependent and do not indicate a problem with lead in the water at the City's treatment facility or City's distribution system.

Lead typically comes from plumbing and fixtures in the home that may contain lead.

"Indications the lead exceedance is home dependent are further supported by the results of this latest round of testing. Homes along the same streets were tested. Yet, not all the homes returned results showing a lead exceedance," said Interim Public Works Director Jerriot Smash. "As part of the compliance plan, the City is continuing with its corrosion control study and is monitoring pH at its treatment plants in real-time to maintain pH within a range that will yield water less likely to interact with homeowner's plumbing. We believe that based on the results of the latest round of testing, our efforts are beginning to have a positive effect in reducing lead levels."

Back in June of 2015, the City of Jackson performed the required sampling for lead and copper. In January 2016, the City was notified by the Mississippi State Department of Health that elevated levels of lead exceeding the action level of 15 ppb were found in some homes (13 of 58 sampled).

The City released the findings to the public.

RELATED: Jackson's water distribution system sample results below detection limit for lead

The city initiated re-sampling of the 58 sites, starting with the 13 that exceeded the action level, as well as an additional 42 sites.  All but 2 of the resampled 13 sites that exceeded the lead action level initially had levels that were reduced below the action level and some were no detection.

As for the 2 sites, one was vacant and the other was on private well water.

In the full set of 100 sites sampled in January 2016, lab results showed 11 were above the lead action level.

The City of Jackson says its water is safe to drink as long as taps are flushed whenever water has been sitting stagnant in the lines for six hours or more.

Pregnant women and small children should follow MSDH's recommendations for prevention of lead exposure from drinking water by using NSF 53-filtered or bottled water.

According to the city, exceeding the action level does not necessarily indicate a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act; however, additional compliance measures must be met, including more frequent sampling and taking measures to mitigate the reaction of the finished water with piping, plumbing and service lines.

Mitigation measures typically include implementation of flushing programs and optimizing corrosion control during the treatment process.

The City of Jackson claims that the source water and finished drinking water leaving the plant do not contain lead. Lead enters the water from the corrosion of materials containing lead.

When water is in contact with service lines and plumbing containing lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water.  Homes that were built prior to 1988 are more likely to have lead pipes or solder.

Public Water Systems, such as the City of Jackson's, are required to take measures that control corrosion by treated water.

The City initiated a corrosion control study by submitting the Study Plan to the MSDH on April 18, 2016.  The next step was to complete a Desk-top Study that was submitted to the MSDH on July 1, 2016.

After receiving approval of the Desk-top study, the demonstration phase of the corrosion control study will begin by September 15, 2016.  The demonstration phase will be used to determine the optimum corrosion control treatment which will reduce leaching of lead from plumbing.

The City has continued its public education efforts. Public Education (PE) about lead and drinking can be found on the City's website,

As required by MSDH, the city has provided public education pamphlets to child care centers, healthcare facilities and Head Start centers served by the city's water system.

PE pamphlets have also been delivered to the sites with lead exceedance.

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