Indianapolis News and Headlines


Blood tests begin in Howard County schools

Posted at 6:27 PM, Feb 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 12:46:38-05

HOWARD COUNTY -- Testing has begun in Howard County to determine whether students and staff at schools there were exposed to dangerous levels of lead. 

Dr. Tracy Caddell of the Eastern Howard School Corporation says there are 1,500 students in the corporation, and about 600 opted to be tested on Friday.

PREVIOUS | Eastern Howard School Corporation finds unsafe levels of lead in school water

Health officials ran more than 40 tests on the water supply at Eastern Howard Schools and were concerned when results showed lead levels higher than the EPA action level. District leaders have traced it to problems with old pipes that supply Greentown with water. 

"The good news is that repeat testing in those locations determined the water was at normal levels," Dr. Tracy Caddell said.

School officials started handing out bottled water and stopped using water to cook in cafeterias as a precaution. The school corporation is spending about $400 a day on bottled water.

There are 59 drinking fountains and 38 are tied to an old water pipe. The school is working to put a filtration system in those fountains. 

The longterm plan is to develop a plan to replace the old pipes.

Friday, the Indiana State Department of Health will offer free voluntary blood lead screenings for students and staff impacted by the water issue. 

District leaders say new protocols for equipment operations and daily maintenance will be in place as they transition back to the Greentown water supply in upcoming weeks. Phosphates were added to that water supply to reduce lead levels. 

"I think they're going to do the right thing and make sure everybody's safe," Susan Roberts said. 

For more information on the blood lead tests, click here.


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