The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday December 7th

Detectable lead levels found in drinking fountains at Wilson Library

<p>Wilson Library, pictured on Nov. 29, 2021.</p>
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Wilson Library, pictured on Nov. 29, 2021.

The University has discovered detectable levels of lead in the water of three drinking fountains in Wilson Library, according to a campus-wide email sent on Thursday. 

The Office of Environment, Health and Safety does not believe the issue to be a widespread campus problem. If detectable levels of lead are found in other fountains, the University said that they will be removed from service immediately. 

“As a precaution, staff from Environment, Health and Safety will test other campus drinking fountains that potentially contain similar lead components and have not been tested recently to check for lead,” the email said. 

The Environmental Protection Agency requires water systems to take action if the sample has 15 parts per billion (ppb) or more of lead.

One water fountain on the second floor of Wilson Library had over 12 times that amount.

The three water fountains affected by the lead levels are the third floor historic drinking fountain on the right side of hallway, the third floor historic drinking fountain on the left side of hallway and the second floor drinking fountain, located adjacent to room 506. 

The Office of Environment, Health and Safety will continue to test other campus drinking fountains for precaution, as the cause of the high levels is still unknown, the email said. 

“The investigation into the cause of detectable levels of lead in these fixtures is on-going, but in general, lead in drinking water can be attributed to three sources: lead pipes, lead solder and lead brass fittings,” the email said. 

Questions about the ongoing investigation should be directed to the EHS Department at 919-962-5507 and students with concerns should reach out to Campus Health at 919-966-2281. 

The Daily Tar Heel has reached out the University for further comment. UNC Media Relations is looking into additional details about the situation, but has not responded by the time of publication. 

@livvreilly | @forepreston

university@dailytarheel.com

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