Water in four residence halls affected with high levels of lead
Elevated lead levels were found in the water of at least four residence halls, including Barnhart, Walton, Hamilton and Bean Halls, UO Housing Director Michael Griffel said via email to residents on Sept. 14.
More than 20 percent of tested fixtures have elevated lead levels, according to the email.
Griffel encourages residents to not use water from bathroom faucets or drinking fountains for drinking or cooking. He also noted that water bottles or dispensers will be handed out to occupants. Water usage for personal hygiene and washing “is fine.”
Many students will be staying in these dorms prior to the first day of classes and could affected by the water. They have been informed about the lead levels via printed flyers and emails, the UO reported.
Carson Hall had one fixture with elevated levels that will be repaired. The Living Learning Center water is safe to consume. Results are not in for Earl Hall. Global Scholars Hall has not been tested but is not expected to have issues.
University Housing is ensuring that water used in dining facilities is safe for consumption.
“Like many public agencies with lots of buildings, the UO has been voluntarily testing for lead as part of a water quality monitoring program launched in late spring,” the release on AroundtheO reported. The testing results for residence halls has recently become available.
The water from the affected faucets has more than 15 parts of lead per billion, which is unsafe for human consumption, according to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. High lead levels in water can contribute to negative health effects especially for pregnant women, infants and young children under 6 years old.
The UO has not received reports of any medical conditions supposedly resulting from lead in its drinking water, the email stated.
The UO’s Environmental Health and Safety Office has been pursuing a comprehensive update of its drinking water monitoring plan, using EPA-recommended best practices. Its first step was to test drinking fountains and bottle spouts in all UO buildings for lead content, the email stated.
Earlier in 2016, UO tested water samples from the Vivian Olum Child Development Center and Moss Street Children’s Center, which were safe to consume.
UO Communications Director and Public Information Officer Kelly McIver was not available to comment immediately.