One Public Fountain in Middletown Tests High for Lead

August 3, 2016 Updated: August 3, 2016

MIDDLETOWN—One water fountain in Maple Hill Park in Middletown has tested high for lead, according to results of a second round of tests the city undertook after water in facilities in three parks tested high for lead.

The city voluntarily tested its facilities in May after the water crisis in Flint, Mich. and elsewhere raised concerns about local lead levels.

All the city’s public facilities except for some in Fancher-Davidge Park, Sproat Street Park, and Maple Hill Park came back fine, said Public Works Commissioner Jacob Tawil. He said those were high because they were tested in the spring after the water had been sitting in the pipes all winter and weren’t flushed before testing.

He called it a “silly” mistake, and had those facilities retested once the water was flushed.

“Usually they say you have to keep it [water] in the pipe … for six hours, but not for six months,” he said. “Our guys should have known better.”

All the retests came back below acceptable lead levels except for a drinking fountain at the swimming pool in Maple Hill Park. According to lab results from Bloomingburg-based OCL Analytical Services, that one had a lead concentration of 55 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the acceptable limit at 15 parts per billion.

Tawil said that fountain has since been replaced.

To assure the public that there is not a wide-spread lead problem, the Department of Public Works offered to test residents’ water for free. Tawil said of the roughly 20 tests they did, all of them came back “well below limits.”

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