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SOU water shows elevated lead levels

Southern Oregon University, Jun. 30th 2016, (KTVL/Megan Allison)

ASHLAND, Ore. -- Southern Oregon University is taking on repairs after getting results of priority lead testing on campus.

Ryan Brown is the head of community and media relations at SOU. He said elevated lead levels were found in two drinking fountains as well as sink in the Education/Psychology building.

"We wanted to be proactive and ensure the health and safety of our campus and community. So started testing buildings, we started with our older buildings to see if there was any lead in the water. We started priority testing with buildings that house or childcare centers," Brown said.

The sink, which is in the university preschool, tested high but within EPA limits. The drinking fountains were above legal limits.

"The elevated lead levels were localized to those three specific areas, we believe that it's due to fixtures and not in the water supply itself. So we are in the process of replacing those three fixtures and then we'll retest to ensure that there's no more elevated levels before re-opening them," Brown said.

Students on campus said they're worried, but they hope this is an isolated problem.

"I'm glad that we have a lot of filtered options at school. So that's good, a lot of us carry around these kind of water bottles. And so if you use a filter it seems like you're going to be ok," Briana Lyon said.

Others said they can't believe it took this long for the university to start testing for lead.

"I'm surprised and dissapointed. I always hold SOU to a pretty high standard and Ashland in general just as far as regulating things like that so I am shocked," Katen Layland said.

SOU will test all buildings built before 2000 by the end of the summer.


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