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Students at Pine Elementary Will Receive Bottled Water

Town of Pines, Pines, Indiana
April 2004

Bottled drinking water will be provided to all students at Pine Elementary School beginning Monday, April 12, when students return from spring break. All drinking fountains in the school will be shut down temporarily because tests have shown there is a slightly elevated amount of the trace metal molybdenum in the water.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5 will provide the bottled water to the school. EPA says it is too early to know how long it will be necessary to give the students bottled water, but it,s expected to be a temporary situation.

EPA officials stressed that the measure is merely a precaution. The maximum acceptable level of molybdenum in drinking water is 10 parts per billion. Tests show the level of molybdenum in the drinking water at Pine Elementary School is 10.8 parts per billion. To visualize how small 10 parts per billion is, EPA suggests thinking of a 10-inch segment of a 16-mile road. Another way to measure the concentration of the mineral is 10.8 micrograms per liter.

What is molybdenum?
Molybdenum is an alloy metal originally used in making steel and cast iron. From a nutritional perspective, molybdenum is a trace mineral that is essential to human metabolism in small quantities. It is found in organ meats, whole-grain cereals and legumes.

The molybdenum in Pines ground water (underground source of fresh water) may have come from deposits of fly ash, which is a byproduct of burning coal to produce electricity, or may be naturally occurring. The fly ash was disposed of over a number of years near Pines and was also used as road-fill material in parts of the town. However, molybdenum is also a substance in the Pines-area ground water, and has been detected naturally in concentrations greater than what was found at the school.

Ground-water studies will be conducted to determine the source of the metal and the need for additional action.

For more information
To learn more about contaminated drinking water at Pine Elementary School, or about other issues related to the Town of Pines Superfund site, please contact one of the EPA team members.

Read official documents
All EPA documents regarding the Pines site are available for your viewing at the Michigan City Public Library, 100 E. Fourth St.

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