CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — The health department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found detectible levels of lead in water systems in six buildings on campus.

The Environmental Protection Agency says there is no safe level for drinking lead since it is “a toxic metal that can be harmful to human health even at low exposure levels.”

University officials said they first found detectible lead levels in Wilson library in four water fountains and 14 sinks.

Then, health and safety teams found lead in fountains in Fordham, Hamilton, Manning and Phillips Halls; as well as the South Building.

“When I first heard about the lead in the water I had just filled up my water bottle in Wilson,” Student Abigail Kessel said. “I dumped it out and I didn’t actually drink from one of the lead water fountains but now I still wouldn’t drink from any water fountain in Wilson, I’m a little wary of all of that.”

Signs now hang from contaminated fountains telling students “do not use the water.”

“As a result of this finding, EHS is reviewing the University’s drinking fountain inventory for older model fountains that may contain lead components,” University spokesperson Erin Spandorf said in a statement. “Water fountains are being prioritized to test based on this criterion. If detectable traces of lead are found, we are notifying the building occupants and removing the fixtures immediately.”

The EPA forces public water systems to take action if lead levels are above 15 ppb (parts per billion). 

While some fountains on UNC’s campus tested below that, others anywhere between 30 to 40 times higher than that threshold.

Corrosion of pipes often can lead to increased lead levels in water.

“I’m sure that they’re working as fast as they can to fix the issue but it’s just like scary that it took so long for them to notice,” student Alex Bean said.