A message from COL Benjamin C. Jones, USAG Ansbach Commander
As part of an effort to test family housing water sources across U.S. Army Garrisons, the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach conducted a periodic lead-detection testing of drinking water sources in family housing units at Katterbach Kaserne and Bleidorn Kaserne from 3 August to 12 September.
These samples were taken from unoccupied family housing units at Katterbach and Bleidorn.
This week, the garrison received partial results of those water-sampling tests for 129 of the 214 total samples taken. We are still awaiting results of the remaining 85 samples. Some of the tests returned results with levels higher than acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency.
It is important to note that all of the housing units tested were unoccupied at the time. The testing of unoccupied units may have resulted in higher lead readings based on the water sitting in the pipes for an extended period of time.
However, we want to ensure we are applying an abundance of caution as we look out for the well-being of our community. Given the test results, USAG Ansbach is instructing pregnant women, as well as children 6 years and younger, in these housing areas to refrain from using the tap water for drinking, cooking and brushing teeth until we can conduct follow-on tests of the occupied units to ensure the water is confirmed safe for consumption. Using tap water for bathing and laundry is safe.
If any test results are returned with lead content above the acceptable standard during follow-up testing of housing units, we will take immediate corrective measures, and we will keep community members informed of findings and response actions. These types of isolated, higher than acceptable lead readings are not uncommon after a source of water has not been used for a long period of time. Garrison leadership is closely monitoring the tests and follow-on assessments.
Despite these higher-than-normal levels at the unoccupied quarters, it’s important to note that the USAG Ansbach community’s water system has always been in compliance with lead tests. Previous lead testing, conducted garrison-wide in 2013, revealed no elevated lead levels whatsoever. Regular, ongoing testing is in accordance with host-nation-specific environmental compliance requirements and a combination of U.S. federal and DoD standards to ensure the safety of all community members.
Please be aware that exposure to lead may cause developmental issues in children ages 6 years old and younger. Lead is found throughout the environment in air, soil, lead-based paint, household dust, food, certain types of pottery/porcelain/pewter, and water. The primary source of lead exposure for most people is lead-based paint in older homes, but since exposure can also occur through drinking water, the EPA suggests that government facilities periodically test their drinking water for lead. On occasion, these tests find elevated levels.
The U.S. Army is absolutely committed to the health and safety of Soldiers, Family members, and the civilian and contractor workforce. USAG Ansbach intends to continue sampling its facilities on a routine basis.
If you have concerns about whether you or any member of your family might be experiencing negative health effects as a result of exposure to lead, please contact Ansbach Army Health Clinic, Public Health Nurse at DSN 590-3613 or 06371-9464-3613.
If you have any questions or would like more detailed information about this water-sampling effort, call the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Management Division at 09802-83-3422 or DSN 467-3422.
To learn more about lead exposure, visit the following web pages:
- www.cdc.gov/lead/ (CDC Lead Information)
- http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/116/4/1036.full (American Academy of Pediatrics Policy on Lead Exposure in Children)
- www.atsdr.cdc.gov/ToxProfiles/tp.asp?id=96&tid=22 (Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, Profile for Lead)
- www.epa.gov/lead (EPA Lead Information)
- www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water (EPA Lead in Drinking Water Information)