EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Lead levels were found above EPA standards at some schools in Evansville. Now, 20 schools have installed new water fixtures.
Of the 1,538 fixtures tested, 4% tested over the action level of 15 ppb. The rest of the fixtures fell below the EPA standards [CLICK HERE to view the sampling program overview].
EVSC says the action level is not a measure of health affects, rather a signal to take steps.
Daniel Wertz, Hebron, and Stringtown are all elementary schools with lead levels that came in above the EPA's recommended 15 ppb.
"We looked back at the history of the purchase date and when those were installed, they were in elementary schools where they weren't being used anymore, and they were all installed in 1985, so that tells us there was something about the construction of those fixtures that may have led to their numbers being a little bit higher," says EVSC Chief Communications Officer Jason Woebkenberg.
According to the CDC, children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure.
"You don't want to be drinking lead, especially over a period of time, and then if you're a youngster 6 and under obviously that's going to accumulate in your bones," says Chris Borowiecki with the Vanderburgh County Health Department.
EVSC says the fixtures were immediately replaced, repaired, or taken out of service.
These fixtures were not found in any cafeteria kitchen. They weren't found in any of the primary drinking fountains throughout the hallways of our buildings. They tended to be in sinks that weren't used any longer or maybe just used for hand washing purposes," says Woebkenberg.
Statewide, 8% of fixtures tested above 15 ppb, compared to EVSC's 4%. 61% of schools tested in Indiana had at least one fixture above the level, compared to 52% with EVSC.
Several other school districts in southern Indiana also participated in the program, including Gibson, Posey, and Warrick counties. For the full list of EVSC schools with the number of fixtures that had to be replaced click here.