Yes. Durham’s drinking water is safe to drink and use and is tested daily for lead and other contaminants. There are no detectable levels of lead in water leaving Durham’s Water Treatment Plants and the results from the student report do not impact City of Durham drinking water.
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Environmental studies will be conducted at the five parks mentioned in the student’s report: East Durham Park, East End Park, Walltown Park, Lyon Park, and Northgate Park.
Environmental assessment experts, Mid-Atlantic Associates, have been hired to conduct this study. Mid-Atlantic Associates is an engineering and environmental consulting firm that has worked in Durham for a number of years and provided their expertise on many large-scale projects, including a Brownfields assessment and remediation services to support the redevelopment of Golden Belt in downtown Durham.
Mid-Atlantic will conduct an environmental assessment of all five parks following the guidelines established through the NCDEQ’s Registered Environmental Consultant Program.
Yes the parks can be used during this time. While assessments are conducted and remediation options are explored, please do not enter marked areas within the parks that have measured above the EPA threshold for lead in bare soils in play areas, which is 200 parts per million (ppm) (previously 400 ppm). The City has met with Durham County’s Public Health team who are supportive of continuing use of the parks with the information available at this time.
Signage noting that soil lead and contaminant studies are underway have been installed in all five parks at restricted areas and/or impacted creek banks. The signs include Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) tips for reducing exposure to lead, and QR codes to the City’s website with more information about the project, Public Health information, and EPA soil lead information.
The Durham County Department of Public Health manages the Lead Education and Assessment Program (LEAP), which offers services to increase lead education and awareness. You may email their staff or call 919-560-4842 for further information and assistance.
More information will be available in the coming weeks online at dprplaymore.org.
The City is planning in-person public engagement opportunities in February 2024 to discuss the findings, and the parks' qualifications for the State's Pre-Regulatory Landfill Program. Once the date and time are finalized, this information will be posted on the project webpage and shared with the community as well.