MORRISTOWN, NJ - Morristown Medical Center is relying on bottled water for drinking and food preparation due to the discovery, last week, of lead in its water pipes, said hospital officials today.

The hospital was notified last week that higher than normal levels of lead were found in the water. The hospital immediately took precautions: Water fountains were shut off and patients, guests and staff were given bottled water for drinking and food preparation, said the hospital. 

“It has been determined that patients, guests, and employees at Morristown Medical Center between Jan. 22 through Feb. 25, 2016 who ingested tap water may have had an exposure to lead” said Elaine Andrecovich, spokesperson for Atlantic Health, which owns the hospital. “Water tests conducted throughout the medical center in collaboration with authorities identified levels ranging from extremely low to those that exceed 15 parts per billion, a level which requires action according to federal regulations.”

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The hospital said it will continue to work with the state Department of Environmental Protection, state Department of Health and the Morris County Office of Emergency on this issue.  Authorities believe the tap water is safe for hand washing, cleaning,and bathing, they said.

A timeframe to restore the tap water supply has not been determined. 

The issue concerns only Morristown Medical Center, said officials. The Town of Morristown and other Atlantic Health System sites are not affected, they noted.