Nine water sources at five Cherry Hill public school buildings have been found to exceed government-set lead-level limits, according to information released by school district officials late Wednesday.

The water samples were taken from drinkable water fixtures at Bret Harte, James Johnson, Horace Mann, Joseph D. Sharp, and Woodcrest Elementary Schools, said a letter to the community from Superintendent Joseph N. Meloche.

As of Wednesday, "all of those outlets have been taken out of service," district spokeswoman Barbara Wilson said.

She said parents will not have to pack water with their children's lunches because all of the schools have adequate supplies of safe water.

The sampling is part of a state-ordered water testing at all New Jersey public schools.

Gov. Christie called for the testing in May after high lead levels were discovered in the Flint, Mich., public water supply, igniting widespread anxiety and concern about the nation's water.

The offending Cherry Hill water samples exceeded 15 parts per billion, the threshold the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set for corrective action.

Parents concerned about possible effects are being encouraged to consult with their health providers, Wilson said.

Cherry Hill, one of the state's largest school districts, also tested water used for drinking and food preparation at Richard Stockton Elementary School and the Malberg Administration Building/Alternative High School. A total of 209 water samples were taken from the buildings tested so far, the district's community letter said.

The rest of the district's 19 schools are scheduled to be tested by the end of the year.

As required by the state, water samples are from drinking fountains, nursing offices, and sources of water used in cooking, Wilson said.

Information about the testing and individual sample results are posted on the district's website:

The presence of lead in Newark and Camden schools was known even before the state called for testing in the spring. Since then, other New Jersey public schools in the nearly 3,000 statewide buildings have detected lead.

The state's colleges were not ordered to test, but lead was found recently in water at Rowan University. Bottled water was provided, and new fountains and filters were installed. Testing is continuing.

Lead typically enters a water supply by leaching out of older service lines, pipes, and plumbing fixtures and fittings.

People with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer serious health problems, including brain and kidney damage. Elevated levels of lead are particularly dangerous to young children, leading to lower IQ levels, hearing difficulties, and attention deficit disorder. For pregnant women, it can contribute to developmental delays and low birth weight for their babies.

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