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EPA officials: Up to 90% of homes in East Chicago, IN have lead water lines

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A sign displayed in a front yard request that residents keep fro playing in the dirt or mulch at the West Calumet Housing Complex on September 4, 2016 in East Chicago, Indiana. The soil at the complex has been found to contain high levels of lead and arsenic putting all residents in danger if exposed to the elements. Over 1,000 residents are being asked by the East Chicago Housing Authority to relocate, after plans were decided to demolish the housing complex. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. — Federal officials say all East Chicago residents should assume they have lead water lines and use a properly certified filter.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist Miguel Del Toral repeated the recommendation Friday after initially making it last month while responding to questions from residents at an open house for the USS Lead Superfund site in the city’s Calumet neighborhood.

Officials say it’s possible up to 90 percent of homes in East Chicago have lead water lines.

The Northwest Indiana Times reports the EPA tested drinking water at more than 40 homes at the site. The agency found nearly 20 of the homes had lead levels above the action level of 15 parts per billion.

EPA officials say it views the sampling to represent the entire water system. No further testing is planned.