Elevated levels of arsenic found in drinking water at USP Atlanta

Source: MGN Online

ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46)- After months of testing, elevated levels of arsenic have been found in the drinking water at USP Atlanta, a medium security facility housing close to 2,000 male offenders.

USP Atlanta brought in a third party consultant to conduct limited water sampling in November 2018 after questions were raised related to possible sediment in the water.

Because results from the first testing indicated elevated levels of arsenic, more widespread sampling of the institution was conducted in December. Test results were completed January 2, 2019; however due to the government shutdown the results were not received by the Bureau until January 29.

All of the samples tested with water collected within USP Atlanta contained 17 ppb of arsenic or less. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for arsenic in drinking water as 10 parts per billion (ppb).

Staff and inmates were notified to not drink the water and bottled water was distributed to staff and inmates.

The City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM), who supplies water to the facility, was also notified of the test results. They conducted preliminary testing on February 4, 2019, to determine the source of the arsenic and what further action may be required. Those test results have not yet been received.

In the interim, additional gallons of water were purchased for the Food Services Department to use in cooking meals during this time. Staff conducted town hall meetings with all the housing units to ensure inmates were notified not to drink or cook with the tap water. Showers and washing of clothes are not affected by this issue. Staff and inmates continue to be provided with clean drinking water via bottled water and notices have been posted as a reminder.

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