Lab tests show safe drinking water in Southwest Memphis

Lab tests show safe drinking water in Southwest Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The state recently found dangerous levels of arsenic in the ground beneath the TVA Allen Coal Plant and not far from the aquifer where we get drinking water.

A secluded section of town on the west side of the city called Boxtown is just down the road from the plant.

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Pamela Hawkins is a retired 61-year-old who said life there is simple.

Her biggest concern is getting the tomatoes to grow.

“The kids are safe down here. We feel safe,” said Hawkins.

We told Hawkins on Thursday that the nearby TVA plant leaked arsenic into the ground close to the aquifer, the source of her drinking water.

We took a sample to a certified laboratory to have it tested for the poison.

“I was kind of afraid to drink the water at first,” Hawkins said.  On Friday, we returned to Boxtown with good news.

The lab found no trace of arsenic.

“I pray to God that nothing was wrong with it and everything alright with us,” said Hawkins.

Hawkin’s water sample was one of two we tested.

Michael Kauffman is a chemist who oversaw the tests.

He said, “All we can tell you is there's no arsenic that we were able to find. Beyond that, MLGW or someone else would have to provide you information with how good the drinking water is.”

The EPA said anything over 10 parts per billion is dangerous.

The results in Boxtown came back with a reading of less than .01 parts per billion, which made Hawkins say, “I feel safe. I don’t have to worry about it. Nothing wrong, nobody getting sick.”

MLGW is testing their nearby wells.

The results are due back late next week.