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City Of Tallahassee Shuts Down Cascades Park Drinking Fountain After Students Find Elevated Lead Levels

Tallahassee's Cascades Park
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Tallahassee's Cascades Park

Both the students and city underground utilities determined just a single park fountain was in excess of EPA guidelines.

Elevated lead levels in a Cascades Park drinking fountain has brought a quick response from the City. Tom Flanigan reports the alarm came from two Florida State University environmental science students.
Linda Beauport said she and Kim Watts checked all the park's drinking fountains for elevated lead in the water.

"It was the fountain closest to Lafayette Street we found some elevated levels there that exceeded the EPA's actionable levels. We found it really interesting because there's not a lot of regulations on park water fountains."

The students found the fountain in question had a lead level of 20.6 pbb (parts-per-billion), and the actionable level as set by the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection is 15 pbb. Meanwhile, the American Academy of Pediatrics considers anything over 1 pbb to be a health risk.

The findings did get the attention of City of Tallahassee Assistant General Manager of Underground Utilities David Roberts. He said that fountain is now turned off.

"There are several fountains around there and for some reason only this one was elevated, so we're looking at that as well."

Meanwhile the students and the local Get the Lead Out group are continuing to look for high lead levels in other drinking fountains in Leon County.

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Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.