Apr 25, 2019

Elevated Lead Levels Found in Indiana Schools

Water testing turns up above action level amounts of lead in seven schools in Hammond, Ind.

Water testing turns up above action level amounts of lead in seven schools in Hammond, Ind.
Water testing turns up above action level amounts of lead in seven schools in Hammond, Ind.

In Hammond, Ind., seven schools in the city of Hammond tested above action levels in the district's recent round of sampling for lead in drinking water sources, according to The Times of Northwest Indiana.

Two other buildings in the district also tested above action levels set by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, according to a presentation given by Pekron Consulting in a board meeting on April 16.

According to The Times, this round of testing comes following a series of tests conducted last summer that led the district to remove 52 drinking fountains from service in nine schools. However, Pekron determined these results may have been skewed due to irregular water use during the summer and recommended further sampling in the schools.

Immediately after the first round of water sampling, all affected waters sources were removed and five gal water coolers were made available, School City of Hammond superintendent Scott Miller said.

Pekron's recent round of sampling included 14 buildings total as constructed prior to 1986 when legal requirements for new potable water systems became stricter, executive director of buildings and grounds for the Hammond district James Burggraf said.

According to The Times, upon an initial draw of just under 500 district drinking water sources, 115 water sources in all but the transportation building tested above the IDEM limit of 15 parts per billion of lead to water. In a second draw, only 32 water sources among seven schools and the administration and transportation buildings tested above IDEM's action level.

In buildings that met or exceeded IDEM's action level, signs labeled "Not Drinking Water — Do Not Drink" were placed above affected sinks and non-drinking water sources, and other affected drinking water sources were phased out or removed, Burggraf said. According to The Times, in some locations, the district provided alternative drinking water sources like water coolers.

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