Important information about our drinking water

January 5, 2007

In November, 2006, a monthly water monitoring check required of all public water systems revealed the presence of coliform bacteria in three of 20 samples taken around the Mississippi State University campus. This was not an emergency; if so, all customers would have been notified immediately. It is not necessary to boil water or take other corrective actions.

The state Department of Health identifies coliforms as bacteria naturally present in the environment and an indicator that other, potentially harmful, bacteria may be present. Coliforms were found in more samples than allowed in November, an indication of potential problems. The situation was rectified immediately, as verified by the Depa rtment of Health. DOH has since advised that according to the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the university must notify all customers of the November sample condition.

Event: MSU submits monthly water samples from 20 campus sites to the state Department of Health lab; in November three of these indicated the presence of coliform bacteria. The state lab requires immediate follow-up testing to see if other bacteria of greater concern are present. This re-test (three at each site, or nine total) did not find any of this bacteria. Additonally, all December routine samples were clear of bacteria.

Further Actions:

1. Chlorination is the process routinely used to control naturally occurring bacteria in well water; the University has increased slightly the dosage of chlorine into the water system.

2. The water distribution system was thoroughly flushed to ensure fresh treated water throughout the system.

3. The sample-taking process was improved to preclude the possibility of contamination from outside, non-system sources.

For more information, please contact Mitchell Turner at 325-1868 or Ralph Nobles at 325-1859, or 600 Russell Street, Mississippi State, MS 39762.