MSDH issues warning to Jackson, MS water customers over lead wat - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

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MSDH issues warning to Jackson, MS water customers over lead water concerns

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The City of Jackson and the Mississippi State Health Department have issued a warning for residents, especially pregnant women and children, over lead found in water. 

Officials at the MSDH say that after consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency, is advising all residents who receive their drinking water from the City of Jackson Water System to take the following precautions:

  • Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, run your tap on cold for one to two minutes; for more detailed  information visit the CDC's website
  • Households should never use hot water for drinking or cooking;
  • Any child five years of age or younger and any pregnant woman should use filtered water or bottled water for drinking and cooking;
  • Baby formula should be “ready-to-feed” or prepared using only filtered water or bottled water; and
  • Parents with children six years or younger should contact their child’s pediatrician or primary care provider to ensure adequate lead screening and blood testing have been performed.

“Although the majority of home lead testing performed identified no lead, or lead below the action level of 15 ppb, we are issuing these recommendations as a special precaution for young children and pregnant women,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

“It’s important to remember simple measures, such as flushing the faucet for one to two minutes, can markedly reduce lead levels in tap water,” added Dobbs.

The Mississippi State Department of Health will mail the above health recommendations about lead to all customers on the City of Jackson Water System, and will closely monitor the City of Jackson’s progress to reduce the corrosiveness of water.  Corrosive water leads to leaching of lead in some older homes where plumbing contains lead pipes or lead solder. 

“We believe these precautions should remain in place at least six months while the City of Jackson makes the necessary changes required to stabilize the alkalinity and pH levels in the system. These changes should ensure better optimization of corrosion in the Jackson Water System, which should lead to minimal leaching of lead in home plumbing,” said Director of Health Protection Jim Craig.

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 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 water 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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