Bally’s didn’t tell guests about lead-tainted water for 7 months
New York Post
24th March 2016
Bally’s Atlantic City was alerted in September that the water in a suite contained unhealthy levels of lead — but didn’t alert guests or close the room until March 4, The Post has learned. The suite, on the top floor of the Bally’s Tower, had lead levels of 17. 8 micrograms per liter, according to tests taken last Aug.
27 by an independent lab and submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The safe level is 15 micrograms per liter. In all, seven of the 20 water samples taken last summer had elevated lead levels, the test results show.
No warnings were posted at any of the locations with tainted water. Elevated lead levels were also found in the water at two bar sinks at the Blue Martini Bar, at the nurse’s station, in a janitor’s closet (which had the highest levels, 1, 300 micrograms per liter) and in and women’s restrooms, the results show. “I’ve never seen 1, 300 in 15 years,” said Garth Moyle, deputy executive director of the Atlantic City Municipal Utilities Authority, which provides drinking water for Atlantic City.
“I don’t think ancient Rome had numbers like that. ” A spokesman for Caesars Entertainment, which operates Bally’s, admitted the casino goofed by waiting five months to alert guests and employees to the lead levels. “We did not handle this information appropriately,” the spokesman told The Post.
“We take full responsibility for our failure to act promptly last fall. ” Bally’s closed its suite March 4, and posted warnings at other sites with tainted water, the casino said. While the troubled casino — its parent, Caesars Entertainment Operating Co.
is in Chapter 11 — failed to act promptly to safeguard guests and workers, the state DEP also appears to have erred. The DEP, run by Bob Martin — a pal of Gov. Chris Christie — knew of the high lead levels at Bally’s in October but took no action until Feb.
26, when it sent a “ ” letter to the casino. Bally’s, like other AC casinos, tests its water every three years. The results were sent to the DEP in September.
Bally’s moved to retest the water in late February, after it received the DEP letter. “Once the issue was elevated in our organization in late February, we immediately retested and have determined that levels of lead were, in fact, well within acceptable parameters or undetectable at all 20 locations,” the Caesars spokesman said. “This leads us to conclude that either the initial samples were corrupted or the initial testing procedures were flawed.
Nevertheless, we have expanded water testing to other sources at Bally’s to back up the latest results and which will help continue to ensure that Bally’s water is safe. ” Bally’s reopened the suite and other sites on Wednesday. “The seven locations which had been shut down have now been reopened based on two retests which showed either undetectable or very low levels of lead,” the spokesman said.
Moyle, the local water official, agreed that if the retesting results are accurate in that no lead was found, the first test could have been flawed. But it remains a mystery why Bally’s and the DEP sat by for five months while tests showed dangerous levels of lead were flowing through seven casino faucets..
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