Columbia Elementary is one of the schools in Hammond, Ind., where high lead levels have been detected in drinking water.

Elevated lead levels found in water at 6 Hammond, Ind., schools

Aug. 31, 2018
Students at the affected campuses will be provided with bottled water

The Hammond, (Ind.) school system says it will provide bottled water to students in six schools where elevated lead levels were found in drinking water.

The Gary Post-Tribune reports that seven buildings, including six schools, registered lead levels above the recommended EPA threshold when tested on Aug. 9, 10, and 13.

Affected schools were: Hammond Area Career Center (three public drinking fountains), Clark Middle/High School (two drinking fountains), Columbia Elementary (five drinking fountains), Scott Middle (three drinking fountains), Morton High School (two drinking fountains), Lafayette Elementary (four drinking fountains) and the Miller facility (four drinking fountains).

School officials caution that the results may be “skewed” because testing was done after water lines were largely dormant in the summer.

The fountains have been taken out of service until further testing is done, and bottled water will be provided at each building.

Buildings that were singled out were built before 1986, when building codes first banned the use of lead components in parts of the water supply system.

Hammond was one a few Northwest Indiana school districts that did not participate in the state’s free school lead testing program earlier this year, because it previously conducted testing independently, officials say.

Hammond has an enrollment of about 13,100 students in 14 elementary schools, two middle schools and four high schools.

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. says the presence of lead did not come from the city’s water supply.

“I want to assure Hammond residents that our water is safe for drinking and all other uses,” McDermott says. “The Hammond Filtration System uses the highest standards for testing and filtration procedures necessary to ensure safe drinking water for our residents and its customers. The matters that have been brought up by the School City of Hammond have to do with fixtures and pipes that exist within their buildings and not within the City of Hammond water system.”

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy, senior editor, has written for AS&U on a wide range of educational issues since 1999.

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