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City of Jackson issues warning for pregnant women, children over lead in water

The City of Jackson has issued a warning for pregnant women and children over lead found in water, multiple media outlets have reported.

In June 2015, the Mississippi State Department of Health performed the required sampling for lead and copper.

In January 2016, the City was notified by the Mississippi Department of Health that elevated levels of lead exceeding the action level of 15ppb were found in some homes (13 of 58 sampled). The City distributed those results to the residents.

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 show 11 are above the lead action level.

The City of Jackson says the water has not been deemed unsafe. However, out of an abundance of caution, pregnant women and small children should follow MSDH’s recommendations for prevention of lead exposure from drinking water.

The City says that 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’s 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 built prior to 1988 are more likely to have lead pipes or solder. Public Water Systems like the City of Jackson’s are required to take measures that control corrosion by treated water.

The City’s plants do have corrosion control systems; however, this exceedance signals an immediate need to optimize the corrosion control systems we use.

Public Education 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.

The City will also submit an engineer-designed corrosion control study and plan for optimization of water treatment for the City of Jackson Water System to the Director of the MSDH Bureau of Public Water Supply.

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