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Sampling error led to high lead levels

Water taken from wrong source raises alarm in Hollidaysburg

HOLLIDAYSBURG — High levels of lead recently found in samples of drinking water in some homes and buildings in Hollidaysburg Borough were the result of a sampling error, according to Rick Pope, director of public works for Hollidaysburg Borough.

According to Pope, samples were taken in August at three sites and when results came back, they were found to have high levels of lead.

After being notified of the high readings by the Department of Environmental Protection, authority officials investigated and discovered the samples were taken from the wrong source.

Pope said samples are to be taken from the kitchen sink by what they call “first draw,” meaning the water sample should be taken the first time the sink is used in the morning.

Pope said the person collecting the samples could not gain access to the homes and took the samples from the outside spigot instead.

Pope said outside spigots contain more contaminates when first turned on because they are not used as often, and stagnant water builds up.

New samples were taken from the sites and the results showed levels well below the EPA threshold of 15 micrograms per liter.

Although the high lead readings were due to a sampling error, the violation was recorded, and the authority sent out a release notifying customers.

The authority sampled 20 sites in October and 40 sites in January and all lead levels were below the threshold. The authority will test the sites throughout the year per DPA rules.

Mirror Staff Writer Rick Boston is at 946-7535.

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