Lead found in Fallston development's water

The Harford County Health Department held a meeting Tuesday evening with residents of the Grafton Ridge development near Fallston because of a possible lead issue in their homes' water.

County Health Officer Susan Kelly hosted the meeting at the Fallston Library, where she shared current test results with 20 to 30 residents of the community, which is located off Grafton Shop Road between Fallston and Bel Air.

In first draw, Kelly said, water from the wells of 19 out of 45 homes was tested, and water from nine had lead levels above the action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency, which is 15 parts of lead per billion. Three wells tested non-detect and seven tested below the action level, she said.

None of the eight flush samples were above the action level; however, 14 of the 16 samples of the well pressure tanks tested above the action level, as did three of the 11 samples of the well head itself, according to Kelly.

The developer, Richmond American Homes, will provide aggregate data, she added, but the health department is willing to collect their own follow-up samples and do their own testing to verify results.

For now, she said, the health department has not made a determination what is causing the contamination and does not have a timeline to deal with it, much to many of the attendees' frustration.

Kelly urged residents to get children under the age of 10 tested for lead levels, saying that health risks from lead contamination are greatest in children and pregnant women.

Environmental Health Director Cliff Mitchell, of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, also spoke and said the amount of lead in the water is minor compared to the concentrations of the toxic metal typically in lead paint exposure, although it is still cause for concern.

"We're looking at trace, trace amounts," Mitchell said.

According to the EPA's website, infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level "could experience delays in their physical or mental development."

The EPA also says, "Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure."

Updates to follow on http://www.exploreharford.com.

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