- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Two water utilities in Arkansas with lead concentration above federal regulations are taking steps to improve water for their customers.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1TeEeFF ) reports that Delight Waterworks and Harrison Waterworks had water samples taken from customers’ homes in 2015 that tested above the lead level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says should prompt action for reduction. This wasn’t the first year either utility had above-action-level samples.

Since 2016 began, Delight has increased its water supply’s corrosion inhibitor, zinc orthophosphate, to prevent connection pipes and plumbing in people’s homes from seeping lead into the water. Harrison plans do the same later this year.

“We started seeing some elevated lead levels at a few customers’ taps over the years,” said Wade Phillips, public works director at Harrison Waterworks. “It’s kind of to the point where we need to do something about it so it doesn’t become a bigger problem.”

Phillips said that after four months, the chemical should create a protective lining on water pipes both in the plumbing of people’s homes and in the utility’s system that’ll prevent corrosion of the pipes, which is causing lead to leach into the drinking water.

The Arkansas Department of Health says that drinking water contaminated with lead levels above the EPA action level can cause physical or mental development delays in children, including learning abilities and deficits in attention span.

Department of Health records indicate the 90th percentile results of the water tests in Delight and Harrison in 2015 were 23 parts per billion - well above the action level of 15 parts per billion. After those results, the utility or the Arkansas Department of Health is required to research the water quality in the system and then test again after six months.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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