Hattiesburg announces water reporting violations

Hattiesburg announces water reporting violations
The violations were in regards to samples of the City’s water system that are required to be collected and reported by the Mississippi Department of Health. (Photo source: Pixabay)

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker announced two water system reporting violations during a Monday press conference.

Barker said residents will receive a notice about the violations on the back of their water bills.

“Recently, we were made aware that our water system violated a reporting requirement for drinking water from the Mississippi Department of Health,” Barker said. “We believe transparency holds our office, directors and employees accountable, and our residents deserve to know that we made a record-keeping error. They also deserve to know that we are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

The violations were in regards to samples of the City’s water system that are required to be collected and reported by the Mississippi Department of Health. Some samples are required to be monitored monthly, while others are required less frequently.

In April the City’s water plant collected the required 50 samples for chlorine residuals but only documented 49 on the report, according to a Hattiesburg news release. The City said chlorine residual samples are due monthly and required samples were collected and reported in all other months, with each passing the Department of Health’s criteria for drinking water standards.

In September, Hattiesburg missed the due date for lead and copper samples by six weeks. The samples for lead and copper are due every three years.

The City said 30 samples were collected in November and were below the lead and copper action levels, which is a measure of quality, safe drinking water.

“Both of these reporting violations are a byproduct of human error regarding record keeping and paperwork. Neither are in relation to the quality of our drinking water,” said Water Director Alan Howe. “Moving forward, we have requested a schedule for sample monitoring and reporting from the Mississippi Department of Health. We are adjusting our own internal office practices to make sure this does not happen again. We’ve also scheduled samples to be pulled and submitted again for lead and copper in June 2019.”

“It’s really important that our residents know and understand that these two notices are not linked to the quality of our drinking water," Barker said. "Our water is safe to drink, and we were recently presented with a perfect technical score from the Mississippi Department of Health during its last annual inspection of the City’s water system in 2018.”

More information about the violations will be found on the back of water bills, which will be distributed this week.

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