JEFFERSON COUNTY- High levels of lead are being found in water from some sinks, drinking fountains and other sources at JeffCo elementary schools.
“You’re not in imminent danger, but it is a health risk,” said JeffCo Schools spokesperson Diana Wilson. “We haven’t had any complaints about peoples’ health because of our water. We know it’s not healthy for kids so, let’s go in and fix this problem before it becomes an issue for our kids.”
The district is currently in the process of testing approximately 115 of its schools for lead contaminated water.
So far the district has received lab results from about 72 elementary schools.
The good news--more than 90% of the test results (so far) show most water sources either don’t contain lead or contamination levels fall below the federal limit of 15 parts per billion. And when high levels are found, it’s usually from sinks that are rarely used, according to the district.
However, in some cases, the district is finding high levels of lead in sinks and drinking fountains.
For example, at Red Rocks Elementary, a sink in a fourth grade classroom tested at 3704.8 parts per billion which is 246 times higher than the allowable threshold.
“I’m having my kids tested to be safe,” said parent Michele Carlisle whose daughter was in that classroom.
JeffCo said once it finds a water source with high levels, the water is turned off at that location and faucets and pipes are replaced.
The remediation cost is expected to exceed hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The news of the testing comes months before voters will be asked to approve a $530 million dollar bond measure which would go to facility improvement.
Wilson said the choice to test and release results now don’t have anything to do with the proposed bond measure.
“We really don’t want people to be scared. It came up in the spring, so even before we were talking about putting this bond on the ballot,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the district decided to test for lead on its own after high levels were found at an old school in the spring.
To test your own water at home, you can find more information here: http://bit.ly/2box1nT
You can also find more information on water testing from the state’s website here: http://bit.ly/2bdKBev