VIRGINIA BEACH--The Navy has discovered lead above EPA-recommended levels in the water at two Hampton Roads child care centers.
During routine testing of nearly 300 water outlets at nine centers, the Navy discovered elevated levels at a center outside Naval Station Norfolk on Hampton Boulevard and at the Fort Story side of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
The voluntary EPA standards recommends a lead level of no higher than 20 parts per billion, which is said to be equivalent to 20 eye drops in an Olympics-sized pool. The testing showed a highest level of 66 parts per billion.
At Fort Story, the problems were discovered in five faucets. Four were in custodian work areas and one was in a kitchen sink used by staff to wash dishes. None of which are accessible to children.
At Naval Station Norfolk, the problem spots were discovered at seven faucets. Five sinks are used for hand washing and two were drinking fountains in two different classrooms.
The Navy says a maximum of 29 children may have been exposed. Officials say they've received no reports on any children becoming ill.
The Navy has taken steps to fix the problems. At Fort Story, four of the faucets were permanently disconnected and a dishwashing apparatus has been replaced and a sign was posted informing the staff not to drink from the fixture.
At Naval Station Norfolk, three sinks were retested and came back at lower than the EPA levels.
Two sinks have had signs posted instructing the staff not to drink from them. The two drinking fountains used by children have been removed from the facility.
Parents began receiving letters Thursday from the Navy explaining the situation.
Lt. Tony Anglero, picking up his three year old daughter at Naval Station Norfolk, told 13News he is satisfied with the steps the Navy has taken.
"At the end of the day, if they hadn't run the tests, what would the outcome have been then?" Anglero asked. "It was really good they did find it when they found it, early enough so we can intervene and get things fixed right."
Captain David Culler is a commanding officer of Naval Station Norfolk. He says the safety of his sailors and their families is his top priority.
"We're taking corrective actions and I will say that the Navy's doing more than is required by the EPA, so we're being very aggressive, very proactive and we're doing the right thing to make sure that all the corrective actions have been taken," Culler said.
The Navy stated testing continues at all its facilities in Hampton Roads.