Some homes in the Jackson area have recently shown higher than normal levels of lead in their drinking water.
The Mississippi State Department of Health follows Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements by performing routine testing of public drinking water for the presence of lead and copper. Of the 222 samples collected during 2016 from homes in Jackson, 24 showed levels of lead high enough to be deemed actionable by the EPA. The City of Jackson continues to take steps to educate customers and improve corrosion control systems in the City’s treatment plants.
Although the majority of home lead testing performed identified no lead, or lead below the action level set by the EPA, MSDH is issuing these recommendations as a special precaution, especially for households with young children or pregnant women. These precautions should remain in place at least six months while the City of Jackson makes the necessary changes required to stabilize the pH levels in its water system that contribute to corrosion .
- Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, run your tap on cold for one to two minutes. For more detail, see this information from the CDC.
- Households should never use hot water for drinking or cooking.
- Residents should clean out their faucet aerators by unscrewing the aerator at the tip of the faucet, and removing any particles or sediment that has collected in the filter screen.
- Any child five years of age or younger and any pregnant woman should use filtered water (NSF53 certified filter) or bottled water for drinking and cooking.
- Baby formula should be "ready-to-feed" or prepared using only filtered water or bottled water.
- Parents with children five years or younger should contact their child's pediatrician or primary care provider to make sure that adequate lead screening and blood testing have been performed.
Home Water Testing Kit
You can test your home's water by purchasing a sample kit from a certified laboratory, collecting water from your home, and submitting it to the laboratory for analysis. State-approved laboratories for water testing are the MSDH Public Health Laboratory (601-576-7582) or Micro-Methods Laboratories (228-875-6420).
The MSDH Public Health Laboratory has reduced the cost of its water sampling kits from $20 to $15. This price is only for testing drinking water for lead, and only for customers receiving their drinking water from the City of Jackson. Payment is by check or money order only.
This price covers the cost of the sampling kit, lab fees, and analysis. Results will be returned to you by mail in two to four weeks. Please read and follow the instructions carefully when collecting the sample in order to obtain accurate results.
For an MSDH home lead sampling kit, call 601-576-7582.
Lead Safety in Older Homes
If you live in an older home, you can take the following steps to lower the risk of lead in your water, especially if the water has been off and sitting in the pipes for more than 6 hours.
- Do not use hot water from the tap for cooking or drinking.
- Before using tap water for drinking or cooking, run your kitchen tap (or any other tap you take drinking or cooking water from) on COLD for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Then fill a clean container with water from this tap. This water will be suitable for drinking, cooking, preparation of baby formula, or other consumption.
To conserve water, collect several containers of water at once in the manner above.
Schools, Food Facilities, and Child Care Facilities
- Is the Jackson water supply safe?
There is no indication of elevated lead levels in Jackson source water.
Lead in the water of older homes usually comes from plumbing materials in the home which contain lead. The Mississippi State Department of Health has issued a compliance plan for the City of Jackson water system, which includes corrosion control measures to minimize the entry of plumbing-related lead into home drinking water.
- How dangerous is lead in drinking water?
Prolonged exposure to high levels of lead in drinking water can have serious health effects. The precautions mentioned above should be followed by all City of Jackson consumers.
- Is my home at risk?
Levels of lead detected across the City of Jackson are site-specific, and depend on the plumbing materials in your home. If you own an older home (built before 1986), you are more likely to have plumbing fixtures which contain some lead. Older homes are also more likely to contain lead-based paint. (The most common source of lead exposure in children is dust or paint chips from lead-based white paint used prior to 1978.) If you own an older home and are not sure of the quality of its plumbing, you can flush your water taps before drinking from them to lower the risk of lead.