Lead pipes

UW-Platteville is flushing water pipes at Pioneer Stadium and plans to replace the pipes after elevated levels of lead were found. Above, corroded pipes in Flint, Michigan, were partially to blame for a public health crisis in the impoverished community.

SIDDHARTHA ROY | FlintWaterStudy.org

UW-Platteville is flushing water pipes at Pioneer Stadium and plans to replace the pipes in the coming school year, after elevated lead levels were found in drinking water, a spokesman said.

The university started testing water sites around campus last year. Tests at the stadium last month found levels exceeding an Environmental Protection Agency guideline, said Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville’s director of communications.

Tests on July 7 found 22.3 parts per billion of lead in exterior faucets and 34 ppb in the press box, higher than the EPA guideline of 15 ppb, Erickson said. Testing on July 24 showed 19.45 ppb in the exterior faucets and 32.3 ppb in the press box, he said.

He said a sink in the press box registered 74.2 ppb, but it’s not clear when that test was done.

The press box, along with much of the stadium, doesn’t get much use in the summer, leading to stagnant water, he said.

The pipes were flushed and retested Monday, resulting in levels within acceptable EPA limits, including 1.53 ppb in the exterior faucets, Erickson said.

Drinking fountains used in team practices are being flushed beforehand, and public fountains have been turned off, he said. Public fountains will be flushed before football games and other events this fall.

The campus plans to replace the pipes in the stadium, built in 1972, after the football season is over, Erickson said.

Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for the UW System, said the decision of whether to test drinking water and replace pipes, if problems are found, is up to each campus.

Brian Lucas, spokesman for UW-Madison athletics, said drinking water at Camp Randall has been tested annually for the past five to seven years. Water coolers and drinking fountains have been replaced within the past 10 years, and the pipes are made of copper or galvanized steel, he said.

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David Wahlberg is the health and medicine reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.