An Important Message from Executive VP Nancy Stroud: Notification Regarding Lead in Drinking Water on Cochran Campus

Important: Notification Regarding Lead in Drinking Water on Cochran Campus

The health and well-being of our campus community is essential. While this situation is not an emergency, you have a right to information about the quality of your drinking water.

WHAT IS GOING ON?

A voluntary water test performed on our Cochran campus on March 23, 2016 indicated that water in four buildings on campus—Anderson Hall, Gateway Hall, Georgia Hall, and Knights Hall—had levels of lead above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Action level” of 15 parts per billion. We ordered the voluntary test because past water tests on the Cochran campus have intermittently shown slightly elevated levels of lead in various locations around campus.

Of our five campuses, Cochran is the only campus served by its own water system. Every six months, we test the Cochran Campus water system for the presence of lead. The other campuses are connected to city water systems, which do their own testing. If lead concentration is higher than a certain amount, we must take steps to lower it and promptly notify consumers.

Tests conducted in December 2014, after students had finished the Fall semester, follow-up tests in March 2015, and voluntary tests conducted last week all indicated slightly elevated levels of lead in some buildings on the Cochran Campus. While we posted some information on the university website as early as Spring 2015, further updates, posters and notification to students, faculty, and staff on the Cochran Campus are necessary.

WHAT IS MGA DOING ABOUT IT?

MGA has developed and is implementing both short-term and long-term solutions, including:

  • From the moment we learned of the situation, we have been working with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (GA EPD), the Georgia Rural Water Association (GRWA), water systems engineers from Carter and Sloope, and experts at J&T Environmental Services to evaluate the current quality of our water and implement best practices to improve it.
  • Starting last week, we placed posters on lead in drinking water in high traffic areas on the Cochran Campus and are providing all students, faculty, and staff with additional information via email and online at www.mga.edu/water.
  • We are disabling water fountains or installing filters on water fountains in affected buildings.
  • We have secured an alternate source of water for food preparation in Georgia Hall, and are using disposable plates, cups, and cutlery until the situation is resolved.
  • Until levels return to below the EPA threshold, bottled water is available for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors at the Cochran Campus.
  • President Blake ordered an audit of the university procedures involved in monitoring water quality and informing the campus community about health and safety issues. The results of that audit will lead to swift action to address any personnel or process shortcomings.
  • External consultants will continue to test and monitor the quality of our drinking water above and beyond EPA and EPD requirements.
  • Effective immediately, we will begin treating the water on the Cochran Campus as part of a corrosion control plan in coordination with external consultants and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division.

WHERE DO I GET BOTTLED WATER IN COCHRAN?

Water is available in Georgia Hall from 8am to 5pm and in the Wellness Center from 8am to 8pm. In addition, water will be delivered to residents of the affected buildings.

WHO DO I CONTACT WITH QUESTIONS?

Assistant VP for Facilities, David Sims, at 478-934-3000 or david.sims@mga.edu

Updates will be posted online at www.mga.edu/water