Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-9-2020

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Cristiane Surbeck

Second Advisor

Stephanie Showalter-Otts

Third Advisor

Kristine Willett

Relational Format



Lead in drinking water has been proven harmful to human health and is an ongoing problem in the state of Mississippi. The goal of this thesis is to analyze lead contamination data in Mississippi, its implications, and possible short-term solutions for remediation. This was done through community outreach events and voluntary sampling in the Jackson, MS area, analyzing published data from the Mississippi State Department of Health, and conducting controlled sampling and testing in Lafayette County, MS.

Community engagement events were executed in which researchers informed citizens in the Jackson, MS area about the impacts of lead in drinking water on their health and collected water samples from those locations. Residences that were shown to have lead concentrations over the US Food and Drug Administration’s 5 ppb standard lead concentration for bottled water were provided with a water filter meeting ANSI/NSF standards 42 and 53. The community engagement events were beneficial in informing citizens of drinking water quality information, however only 27 samples were analyzed from these events.

The Mississippi State Department of Health’s Drinking Water Watch website data provided a broad overview of Jackson, Mississippi’s lead concentration data and showed that some locations had concentrations of lead surpassing the Environment Protection Agency’s “action level” of 15 ppb.

Water samples collected in Lafayette County Mississippi at seven locations were tested for pH, phosphate concentration, and lead concentration. No correlation was found between either pH or phosphate concentration and lead concentration based on the seven sampling locations. A PUR PPT700W pitcher water filter with filtering capacity was used to filter approximately 50 gallons of water and found to be efficient in the removal of chlorine from the water at up to 50 gallons (125% suggested filter life). Samples that were filtered by the system were also collected for lead concentration testing, yet the results will not be available from these tests until after the COVID-19 pandemic allows for the re-opening of businesses in the United States.



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