Natchez water within safe standards

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 1999

Natchez and Adams County water systems stack up well against national standards for safe drinking water, according to recent reports.

According to Environmental Protection Agency guidelines for safe drinking water, Natchez Water Works and Adams County Water Association fall well within safe levels for contaminants in drinking water.

&uot;Most water in Mississippi is ground water,&uot; said Ricky Boggan, director of the Office of Health Regulation at the Mississippi Health Department. Approximately 96 percent of Mississippians receive their water from public water supplies.

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&uot;Natchez does sound very low in contaminants,&uot; Boggan said. &uot;Another thing that should make Natchez residents feel good is that the EPA guidelines on maximum levels of these chemical is geared to long-term consumption, and so a tremendous safety factor is already built into those maximum figures.&uot;

In compliance with the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act, reports are to be mailed from all public water associations in America to their members, Boggan said. In these reports, they follow a federal template for releasing information about the content of their water.

&uot;If the water is clean, people don’t think about you,&uot; said Kenneth Herring, general manager of the Adams County Water Association.

Herring said it’s his job to make sure that residents of Adams County never have to think about safe, drinkable water being readily available.

&uot;The state health department says we must publish our water content annually,&uot; said James Thorpe, superintendent of the Natchez Water Works.

&uot;We weren’t forced to publish this content because there were any problems, it’s just state mandated that all water systems publish a report like this each year.&uot;

Thorpe said Natchez is well within designated safety norms for an assortment of chemicals and minerals which filter into water supplies through the ground.

&uot;We send the State Department of Health 22 samples per month,&uot; Thorpe said. The State Health Department’s Division of Water Supply tests these samples to ensure safe levels of contaminants like cadmium, copper, lead, nitrate and fluoride.

Special tests are run every three months to detect the level of fluoride in the water, Thorpe said.

Local family dentist, Dr. Conrad C. Barnes Jr., takes a special interest in the amount of fluoride level in Natchez water for his pediatric patients. The reported level of fluoride at 1.070 parts per million means he doesn’t have to ask his youngest patients to take fluoride supplements.

&uot;That’s what (the fluoride level) should be for pediatric patients,&uot; he said.

The maximum level of fluoride that is safe in a water system is 4 parts per million.

Adams County Water Association does not add fluoride to its water, Herring said.

&uot;There are readily available sources of fluoride available, and we don’t want to add anything to the water that could be dangerous in overdose levels,&uot; he said.

Results from the tests of Natchez Water Works and Adams County Water Association showed that the water systems had no detectable levels of microbiological contaminants like coliform bacteria, fecal coliform bacteria or E. coli bacteria.

For more information about drinking water content, contact the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or go online at