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Elevated levels of lead found in water at 2 Harnett elementary schools

Posted September 6

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— Two schools in Harnett County on Tuesday are using water coolers in place of drinking fountains after testing found lead in the water.

Harnett County Schools sent a letter to parents on Friday that said lead was found in water at Benhaven Elementary School and Erwin Elementary. In addition to water coolers, the schools are also using hand sanitizer in bathrooms.

The letter sent to parents said the school system hired Phoenix EnviroCorp to test the water over the summer in response to questions about water quality. After finding elevated levels of lead at the two schools, officials flushed the schools' water systems and brought in clean water for cafeterias and ice machines.

Patricia Harmon Lewis, a spokeswoman for the schools, said not all water fountains were affected, and neither schools' kitchen contained lead. Students are still in the schools, Lewis said.

Harnett County Public Utilities crews are working with the schools to have a solution in the next few weeks, Lewis said.

Benhaven Elementary was built in 1924, and the original building is still in use. Erwin was built in 1928.

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