BEARDEN, Ark. — Drinking water in the south Arkansas town of Bearden has tested high for lead, but state officials said it is still safe to drink.

The water tested three parts per billion higher than the level at which the federal government requires water systems to adjust corrosion levels, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2ikscuJ ) reported.

Arkansas Health Department engineering director Jeff Stone said Wednesday that because the town’s water has had positive test results in the past, it’s only had to report to the state every three years. Bearden will now have to test and report its water system more often.

“We do not consider this situation to be an emergency situation where people should stop utilizing their (regular) drinking water,” Stone said. “Rather, it’s an indication the system needs to address their corrosion control.”

Stone said Bearden, which relies on well water, immediately started looking at treatment adjustments and better corrosion controls.

None of the 10 water samples tested was taken from a school site, but the Superintendent Denny Rozenberg said Bearden School District has been allowing students to carry bottled water. Students have also been offered filtered water.

Bearden Mayor Iva Lou Stoker said she and her parents still drink the town’s water.

“I’m not afraid, but that does not alleviate fear from others, and I respect” that, Stoker said.

Under federal regulations, lead levels in water that tested 15 parts per billion is the minimum amount required to notify customers and take action. Bearden tested 18 parts per billion. By comparison, Michigan’s website shows lead levels for the city of Flint, Michigan tested as high as 51 parts per billion in the latest report for early January, sparking nationwide concern for more than a year now.


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