Mississippi universities partner for safer drinking water in state

State

OXFORD, Miss. (WJTV) – A group of University of Mississippi (UM) researchers is working with the Mississippi State University (MSU) Extension Service to conduct free lead-in-water testing in schools and child care facilities.

The UM Lead in Drinking Water Team is assisting the extension service’s SipSafe program, a statewide effort funded through an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant to reduce lead exposure in children ages birth to 5 years by screening water in qualifying schools and child care facilities.

The UM team is responsible for the recruitment and sampling of child care facilities and schools in seven Mississippi Delta counties: Coahoma, Issaquena, Leflore, Quitman, Sunflower, Warren, and Washington.

“As a public university, the University of Mississippi exists to serve the public,” said Stephanie Otts, team member and director of the National Sea Grant Law Center at the UM School of Law. “Its faculty and staff do that through teaching and research.

“Community-engaged, research-based approaches such as those used by the UM Lead in Drinking Water Team help ensure that the research conducted at the University of Mississippi is directly helping to solve and address challenges faced by communities throughout the state, region and even the nation.”

MSU said since beginning this summer, the Ole Miss team has sampled 361 faucets and water fountains in 20 child care facilities.

According to MSU, negative results are shared, too, but if lead is detected, the team holds a briefing with facility officials and managers to address the results and discuss possible mitigation measures.

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