The sampling results were delayed by the federal government shutdown
Elevated levels of arsenic have been found in drinking water at the U.S. Penitentiary Atlanta (USP Atlanta), a medium security facility that houses approximately 2,000 inmates. The inmates now are receiving bottled water until the water quality is corrected.
According to CBS Atlanta, a third-party consultant tested the water in November 2018 following questions regarding possible sediment in the drinking water. Those initial tests revealed elevated arsenic and more widespread sampling occurred in December in in consequence. While the test results were completed Jan. 2, further action was delayed due to the federal government shutdown and the results were not received until Jan. 29.
All of the water samples contained 17 ppb of arsenic or lower, while the U.S. EPA’s maximum contaminant level for arsenic in drinking water is 10 ppb. Since the results were revealed, preliminary testing on Feb. 4 has sought to determine the source of the arsenic contamination.
The facility is using gallons of water purchased from the Food Services Department to cook meals and inmates are drinking bottled water. Showers and laundry are not impacted by the contamination, according to Fox Atlanta.