CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is giving an inside look at their lead testing efforts in water systems across hundreds of campus buildings.
This comes as many buildings, including residence halls, have tested positive for lead in recent weeks.
Friday is the last day of the university’s second phase, which includes all buildings built before 1930.
School officials confirm the first and second phases completed testing for more than 60 buildings, with roughly 200 more to go in the third and final phase, testing facilities built by 1990.
As of Friday morning, 18 buildings contained sinks or faucets with detectable levels of lead.
During testing, the university’s environmental health and safety teams flush water through a building’s systems, then collect multiple samples the next day to be tested at an off-site lab.
If lead is then detected, the water is shut off to each positive fixture.
Spencer Residence Hall had 57 of 84 in-room sinks come back positive.
In those cases, George Battle, the Vice Chancellor for Institutional Integrity and Risk Management said crews will look deeper into the building’s plumbing system.
“But in other buildings like Spencer where we found lead in multiple sinks, we are testing pipes and that kind of thing,” Battle said. “So, it’s a building by building basis.”
Professor Rebecca Fry said the university is offering blood testing to students and staff in affected buildings and the school’s health department has tested between 80 to 100 people.
“Really good news is they’re all coming back at normal range,” Fry said.
Officials say universities are not bound by any federal law to regularly test for lead. Fry said “it’s highly probable” that lead could be in old buildings on other campuses across the area.
CBS 17 has reached out to Duke University and North Carolina State University to ask if they are testing for lead in drinking water. Duke officials declined to comment and NC State has not yet responded.
Battle said regular testing could be considered to monitor on UNC’s campus long-term.
“Right now, our focus is certainly on getting through the testing, doing whatever necessary remediation we need to do but that will certainly be on the table as a lesson learned for us,” Battle said.
Click here to see UNC-Chapel Hill’s latest testing results and updates.