The second installment of boil-water alerts was sent out to residents of Mississippi following the discovery of E. coli in samples.

"You need to follow what the state is saying, they are the health professionals," he commented. "We're not asking to lift the boil-water notice even though we're taking these samples from the taps that failed and we'll test those to show that we're pretty confident."

To guarantee compliance, JXN Water depends on testing to be carried out by the Mississippi State Department of Health. Henifin said that the department flat-out refused to do what he asked: further confirm the sample findings before acting.

"Over the last 12 months since we've been doing this, we've turned in almost 1,500 samples to the lab and there have been no positives, no false positives, no problems at all," said Henifin. "It's something that really caught us off-guard and got our attention quickly."

Every month, JXN Water is compelled by the US Environmental Protection Agency to sample water from 120 locations around the city and analyze it for microorganisms. The water system, according to Henifin, has been perfectly compliant and has passed all testing over the last twelve months.

Drinking Water Compliance Manager Yvonne Mazza-Lappi of Jacobs Engineering, the company contracted by JXN Water to operate the city's water treatment facility, stated on Thursday that the state's findings may be an inaccurate positive. Mazza-Lappi speculates that this might be due to a combination of causes, such as lab cross-contamination, careless water sample handling, or simple human mistake.

“The chance of getting E. coli in our drinking water would be quite low" (Mazza-Lappi, citing knowledge of chlorine or disinfection levels in the distribution system), she stated at Thursday's news conference.

In order to get the injunction lifted, JXN Water needs to remove E. coli from their system for two days in a row and resample all 120 sites across the city.

"Barring no other analysis failures on the lab's part, I am confident that we will clear all those samples and be able to lift this," said Henifin. "We're moving as fast as we can to get those samples back to the lab and they'll do the analysis and I am confident we'll be lifting the order by Monday."

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