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High lead levels found in the drinking water of some Jackson homes
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City and health officials address high lead level findings in water
Maura Moed

13 of 58 homes tested in Jackson have higher than actionable levels of lead in their water. Officials say the homes are in Southwest Jackson and North Jackson. Health Department officials did not notify the city, even though the samples were taken in July 2015. They say federal regulations don't require immediate notification for high lead levels.

State Epidemiologist Thomas Dobbs says residents should not be concerned.     

"We certainly need to be very conscientious, and work it up aggressively. There's no indication of a health impact at this point, but we're going to continue to take it very seriously and look at every mechanism and see if there's something going on and if we need to do something about it," says Dobbs. 

The Environmental Protection Agency considers 15 parts per billion an actionable level of lead. The Jackson samples tested between 17 to 20 parts per billion. 

Kishia Powell, Director of Public Works, says although the city must take further compliance measures, it doesn't mean the water isn't safe.   

"Monthly, quarterly, and daily sampling routines are exercised for our drinking water. We also do regular flushing in our system. The city has not had any compliance violations for it's drinking water. This is not considered a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, and we continue to stand by that," says Powell. 

100 additional homes in Jackson will be tested for high levels of lead. The Health Department is encouraging concerned residents to flush their systems by running water first thing in the morning, and refrain from cooking with hot water. Residents can also purchase a home lead-testing kit from local hardware stores.