News Feature | August 22, 2016

Another City Finds Lead In School Drinking Water

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,

Following revelations from coast to coast about high lead levels in school drinking water, another city has identified the problem: Beaverton, OR.

At least twelve Beaverton schools, “have elevated levels of lead in water at a few sinks and fountains, new test results show. Ten schools, including Beaverton High and Arts & Communication Magnet Academy, don't have any tainted water sources at all. Water test results for an additional 27 Beaverton schools are still pending, district officials said,” Oregon Live reported, citing official test results.

The school district is trying the following remedies, KGW reported:

  • Turning off water outlets that have a 15 ppb or higher result.
  • Replace fixtures that have results of 15 ppb or higher. The district plans to complete this work by the start of school in September.
  • Conduct follow-up testing on these outlets and the new fixtures.

The results could be worse, Oregon Live pointed out.

“The findings in Beaverton schools stand in marked contrast to those in Portland Public Schools, where all 88 schools at which water was sampled this summer had at least one, and frequently dozens of, faucets or drinking fountains that gave off water with at least 15 parts per billion of lead,” Oregon Live reported.

An investigation by a local law firm found that Portland Public Schools “kept such poor track of lead it was impossible for district officials to understand water quality within their own buildings,” according to Oregon Live.

A report from the American Academy of Pediatrics released in June made new recommendations on lead levels at schools.

“State and local governments should take steps to ensure that water fountains in schools do not exceed water lead concentrations of 1 ppb,” the report said. “Drinking fountains in older schools can be an important source of lead exposure. Unfortunately, there are no regulations for evaluating lead contamination of school drinking fountains in most states.”

To read more about lead contamination visit Water Online’s Drinking Water Contaminant Removal Solutions Center.