Sampling shortfalls lead to violations for water system

by Sean Dunlap

The Mississippi Department of Health has reported separate violations related to Safe Drinking Water Act standards for the Town of Meadville during both November and December.

While neither situation constituted a public health emergency, the town has been notifying its customers by U.S. Mail of the concerns raised by the state and the local actions being taken to rectify the situations.

In a letter sent to water customers on Thursday, Jan. 12, town officials cited incidents where contaminants testing, which is required on a monthly basis for bacteriological and chlorine presence, was not completed during November.

Another letter sent by the town on Monday, Jan. 23 cited the municipal water system did not initiate required sampling for lead and copper contaminants during a three-month period in mid-2022.

The town’s previous water operator stepped away from that job after the individual, who was certified in that capacity, and Meadville municipal leaders come not come to an agreement over fees for the service during annual budget negotiations.

In Meadville’s response to the November violation, town leaders confirmed they have contracted with a new water operator — Bobby W. Johnson Jr. — whose job will be to ensure that all samples are taken and submitted on time as required by the state health agency.

In responding to the December violation, the town said it will collect 10 required lead and copper samples prior to Sept. 30 of this year, and will report those results to customers as soon as the findings have been received.

The analysis for lead and copper is required on a tri-annual basis and was not completed between June 1 and Sept. 30, 2022, according to the letter to customers.