CHICAGO (CBS) — Testing at public schools in Hammond, Indiana, revealed potentially dangerous levels of lead in the water at some school buildings.
School City of Hammond officials said nine of the district’s 25 school buildings are affected, but they have not said which specific schools have elevated levels of lead in the water.
“That’s even more scary, because I have kids in a few schools in Hammond. So it’s a little bit nerve-wracking,” said Hammond parent Jenn Fox.
Recent testing of water in schools built before 1986 discovered elevated levels of lead in some fixtures, which were taken out of service.
“Water? I’ve got to worry about water for my kids? That’s ridiculous,” said Michelle Phillips, whose nieces attend Hammond public schools. “I’ll be damned if one of them ends up sick because of this stuff.”
Bottled water will be passed out at affected schools until further notice.
District officials said it’s possible the summer break might have skewed test results, because water didn’t flush through the system as it would on a normal school day.
“I’m praying to God they’re wrong,” said Hammond parent Ruben Zamot.
The district will test schools’ water systems again, but until then all suspected water fixtures have been turned off.
“We’re continuing to address those issues, and we’re waiting for the final results so we’ll know what the actual extent of the situation is,” said school superintendent Dr. Walter Watkins.
Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. insisted the city’s water supply is not compromised. He said the filtration system used by the Water Department does not use the same fixtures and pipes found in some Hammond schools.
McDermott stressed Hammond’s drinking water is safe.