The National Sea Grant Law Center

Projects

  • Drinking Water and Lead Contamination in the Mississippi Delta

  • Childhood lead poisoning is a challenging social issue that requires the coordination of health, housing, and environmental law and policy. There is no safe blood level for lead, and all sources of lead exposure for children should be controlled or eliminated. The National Sea Grant Law Center is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University of Mississippi seeking to assess and raise awareness of the contribution of lead pipes and water treatment to lead poisoning in Mississippi through community-based research, education, and outreach. To date, the team has focused on lead in drinking water issues in both the Mississippi Delta and Jackson area.


  • Project Team

  • Stephanie Otts and Catherine Janasie, National Sea Grant Law Center

    Dr. Kristie Willett, UM School of Pharmacy

    Dr. John Green and Lynn Woo, Center for Population Studies

    Dr. Cris Surbeck, UM School of Engineering

  • National Sea Grant Law Center The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy Center for Population Studies UM School of Engineering



  • Community Partners

    • •    James C. Kennedy Wellness Center
    • •    New Pathways to Health Initiative, Tri-County Workforce Alliance
    • •    Right! From the Start Program staff and church partners
    • •    Mississippi State University Extension
    • •    Harvard Law School Mississippi Delta Project/Delta Directions Consortium
    • •    Aaron E. Henry Community Health Center and Delta Health Center
    • •    The Marks Project
    • •    Green and Healthy Homes, Jackson, MS
    • •    Rosemont Baptist Church, Jackson, MS
    • •    Mississippi Urban League, Jackson, MS

  • Project Activities

  • As of Spring 2019, the team has partnered with eight community organizations to test lead concentrations in drinking water from 232 homes in 16 Mississippi counties. Participants at each collection event complete a household survey to gather socio-economic data and learn proper water sample collection techniques. Samples from the participants’ kitchen faucets are returned a week later and analyzed in UM laboratory facilities. Participants are notified by mail of the sampling results and provided with water filters if lead concentrations exceed 5 ppb. Eleven participants (4.7%) have received water filters to date.

    The team has also given presentations and tours of laboratory facilities to high school students interested in health careers. During the Spring 2019 semester, the team co-taught an experiential learning class at the University of Mississippi Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College based on the project. In April 2019, the University of Mississippi honored the project team with an Excellence in Community Engagement Award for its work on lead in drinking water.

    Download Award Poster


  • Select Presentation Materials

  • K.L. Willett, et. al., Lead Contamination in Drinking Water and Associated Housing Characteristics in the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Water Resources Conference, Jackson, MS, April 2, 2019.

    Download Presentation

    K.L. Willett, et. al., Strategies to Analyze Risk of Lead Contamination in Drinking Water in Mississippi: Contributions from Community-Based Research, Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD, March 13, 2019.

    Download Presentation

    S. Otts & C. Janasie, An Analysis of Lead Contamination Risks of Public Water Supplies in the Mississippi Delta, Universities Council on Water Resources Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, June 26-28, 2018

    Download Presentation

    S. Otts & C. Janasie, An Analysis of Lead Contamination Risks of Public Water Supplies in the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Water Resources Conference, Jackson, MS, April 4, 2018.

    Download Presentation

    Green, John J., et. al. Informing Environmental Health through Community-Engaged Research: Testing for Lead in Drinking Water in the Mississippi Delta. Poster presented at the Mississippi Water Resources Conference, Jackson, MS, April 3-4, 2018.

    Download Poster


            • Funders

            Initial financial support was provided by the University of Mississippi through an Office of Research and Sponsored Programs Investment Grant. Additional financial support was provided by the Mississippi Water Resources Research Institute and U.S. Geological Survey under award number G16AP00065. In 2018, the Project Team received seed funding from the University of Mississippi Community Well-being Constellation to expand the geographic scope of the project to Jackson, MS. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the University of Mississippi, MWRRI, or USGS.

Questions About Projects?

Have questions or comments about projects at the National Sea Grant Law Center?
Feel free to contact us!

Call or fax us at:
662-915-7775
662-915-5267 (fax)