- Associated Press - Thursday, March 17, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Two water utilities in Tennessee have tested positive for high levels of lead, but environmental regulators have assured residents that the state’s water is safe and that the findings are likely due to sampling errors.

Two of the state’s 504 utility districts have been deemed to be out of compliance with water quality rules, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman Kelly Brockman told The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/21xhy3u). The two utilities in question include the White Pine Water System, an agency serving a community of about 3,700 people northeast of Knoxville. The other is a factory with about 35 employees with its own water source in West Tennessee.

Four out of 20 initial White Pine samples exceeded the lead action level, Brockman said. When those 20 samples were taken again, plus an additional 20, she says that all of the samples came back below the action level.

“We just figure it was something the homeowners did improperly,” White Pine Public Works Director Bob Hardy said of the initial findings. “The tests were retaken by the homeowners, and a TDEC representative went around with me and I explained how the samples should be taken.”

Hardy said the City of White Pine will continue monitoring the issue and that another test sample will be taken in six months.

The other agency out of compliance is the K.T. Clay factory in Weakley County. In that case, Brockman said, the water was retested and all results came back below action levels.

In the past four years, 15 water agencies in Tennessee reported lead levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standards, according to the state data.

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Information from: The Tennessean, https://www.tennessean.com

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