For Immediate Release

November 5, 2001

High Levels of Copper
Found in Health Department Water System
Health Officials Say No Cause For Major Alarm

The Cumberland County Health Department received results today from the state lab in Raleigh that show higher than normal levels of copper coming from three sinks on two floors of the E. Newton Smith Public Health building.

County Maintenance, Engineering and Environmental Health officials suspect that copper may have moved through the system's pipes, which normally contain some degree of copper, in a higher concentration than normal.

The areas affected include the dental, family planning and child health sections of the Health Department.

A plan is being put in place to completely flush the entire health department pipe system in the next few days. Water will then continue to be tested on a regular basis to safeguard against any additional collection of copper anywhere in the system.

Until this process is complete and the entire system has been flushed, employees are being asked to continue using bottled drinking water for ingestion. The sinks can be used for hand-washing purposes and other non-ingestion purposes.

"We hope to have the problem resolved within the next few days", says Cumberland County Health Director Janet Lindbloom. "It is important to reassure our staff and clients that there is no cause for alarm and we are addressing this issue as quickly as we can."

For more information on this news release, you may contact Janet Lindbloom at 433-3707.

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