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Over 900 Indiana schools tested for lead, area schools exceed EPA limit

Under a state funded program, 57,000 water samples were taken from 915 Indiana schools. Those samples turned up 27 schools in the Michiana area that need to make repairs because of excess lead levels.

These schools have at least one fixture that tested over the EPA Action Level of 15 parts per billion remediation threshold:

  • Wolcott Mills Elementary School, Lakeland School Corporation
  • Lakeland High School, Lakeland School Corporation
  • Barker Middle School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Knapp Elementary School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Lake Hills Elementary, Michigan City Area Schools
  • LaPorte County Career & Tech, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Marsh Elementary School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Michigan City Area Schools Administration Building, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Michigan City High School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • Niemann Elementary School, Michigan City Area Schools
  • North Judson-San Pierre Elementary School, North Judson-San Pierre School Corporation
  • Rochester Community High School, Rochester Community School Corporation
  • Emmons Elementary School, School City of Mishawaka
  • LaSalle Elementary School, School City of Mishawaka
  • Mishawaka High School, School City of Mishawaka
  • Twin Branch Elementary School, School City of Mishawaka
  • Edison Intermediate Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Hamilton Traditional School, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Hay Primary Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Jackson Intermediate School, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Lincoln Primary Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • McKinley Primary Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Nuner Primary Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Tarkington Traditional Center, South Bend Community School Corporation
  • Akron Elementary School, Tippecanoe Valley School Corporation
  • Milford School, Wawasee Community School Corporation
  • Syracuse Elementary School, Wawasee Community School Corporation

In a report from the School City of Mishawaka, samples were taken from 393 fixtures at all nine Mishawaka schools. Only 22 samples tested over 15 parts per billion.

The school noted that the vast majority of samples over the threshold were from fixtures that were not used for drinking water or came from fixtures not used often. Many schools that were found to have high lead levels reported the same circumstances.

All 22 fixtures were taken offline and now comply with state recommendations.

The highest lead levels were found at Emmons Elementary School at 66.1 parts per billion and LaSalle Elementary at 132 parts per billion.

The school system reassures students and parents the water is safe to drink.

Michigan City Area Schools Director of Communications Betsy Kohn said any fixtures that tested above the threshold were replaced and some were taken out completely. 

Superintendents from Wawasee Community Schools and Tippecanoe Valley Community School Corporation said any problems were taken care of and the water is safe to drink. 

ABC57 News has reached out to all other schools for their test results.

Of all the schools tested, the state reported 85 percent of fixtures over 15 parts per billion were faucets and bubblers. The EPA says schools should flush their fixtures, clean and replace aerators, change filters, investigate upstream lead sources, and re-test their water. 

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