High lead levels found in Oconto County Courthouse pipe

Posted at 10:15 PM, Oct 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-27 23:15:12-04

More than 40 Oconto County employees and 20 inmates were tested for lead exposure this week after the county found high lead levels in the older part of the County Courthouse and Jail building.

According to Oconto County Administrative Coordinator Kevin Hamann, employees were complaining about discolored water in the building. After testing, plumbers found high lead levels in a corroded pipe running from the road to the building, built in 1891.

46 county employees were tested for lead exposure, and the county is paying for the tests, Hamann said.

"We were concerned that it was also the pipes in the building, but they found that those were copper," Hamann explained. "The one causing the problem was galvanized, so we're hoping that by replacing that pipe and flushing out the water that the lead levels will go down to acceptable amounts."

Crews will start replacing that pipe Friday.

The county does plan to do more testing on the water to see if this is a continuing problem, Hamann said.

The employees and inmates should have those test results next week.