Because 20 percent of the sample showed unacceptable lead levels, Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Department of Natural Resources rules mandate that customers be informed of the findings.

The city of Paris mailed a letter to utility customers last week that reported finding higher-than-allowed lead in two of 10 homes that were recently tested.

Because 20 percent of the sample showed unacceptable lead levels, Environmental Protection Agency and Missouri Department of Natural Resources rules mandate that customers be informed of the findings. The two homes were tested a second time, which did not reflect increased lead levels. Nonetheless, the notifications were required of the city.

At first, the letter caused a bit of a stir in the city, particularly on Facebook, but City Superintendent Lisa Hollingsworth has been quick to point out that the lead discovered does not mean there are lead issues in the city’s water utility delivery system.

“This is not in the water supply, not in the city’s infrastructure,” she said. “Out of a random of 10 homes, two tested for elevated levels of lead, and because of that, we made people aware.”

She added that there have been no issues with the city’s supplier of water, the Clarence Cannon Water District.

There are many factors that could cause increased lead levels, including older metal or copper pipes, and even defective faucets.

The letter outlines precautions that customers can take to avoid lead:

Purchase bottled water for cooking and drinking

Flush the tap for one to two minutes before using the water for cooking or drinking. Doing this reduces lead and copper levels because if flushes away the water that has been sitting in the pipes or against fittings.

Purchase or lease a home treatment device. Treatment devices can only be used with the faucet to which it is connected, so multiple units could be required. And the units need regular maintenance and cleaning. The Natural Resources Department advise to carefully verify the claims made by the device manufacturers. Many such devices are sold via in-home high-pressure sales pitches, and the units are frequently overpriced and underperform.

Municipal utilities and water customers across America have been sensitive to any kind of lead issue in the wake of the deadly disaster with the Flint, Mich., municipal water system.

If consumers have questions about their city’s water supply, they can contact the Natural Resources Department’s Public Drinking Water Branch at 800-361-4827, or 573-751-1406.

“If you have questions about the water in your home, you buy a certified testing kit at Home Depot,” she said.