Solutions for lead-laden water
Before the school year started, the ARPS superintendent sent a letter out to all families regarding a voluntary program that our schools participated in to test the levels of lead and copper in our water fountains.
The district was notified that out of all of the water outlets tested, 77 of them tested above the state and federally defined action level of lead.
This was a huge concern. Lead is dangerous and scary because it is known to cause damage to the brain and nervous system. When the district was first beginning the testing and finding positive lead results, the administration was only taking small precautions. The first action that was taken to fix the problem didn’t seem strong enough, but after getting serious about the issue, the school did a great job at protecting the health of anyone who might drink out of a water fountain within any of the schools.
Kitchen staff, nurses, custodians, and teachers were supposed to run the water outlets that they were responsible for for only 30 seconds, but that did not feel good enough. What if they didn’t run the water for a whole 30 seconds? What if they forgot to do so and someone drank out of it first thing in the morning? There were too many “what if’s” about that protocol. Thirty seconds of running water didn’t seem long enough to eliminate the potential poison that the students in the district could’ve been ingesting.
Shortly after all of the results came back, the administration took action. The maintenance staff quickly began repairing all of the bubblers, sinks, faucets, and water fountains that tested positive for too much lead, replacing fixtures and supply lines with lead-free parts.
This is the kind of action that reassures staff, students, and families that the schools are taking charge and fixing the issues.
Fort River was the first school to have its fixtures and supply lines changed and the rest of the schools were soon to follow. At the beginning, the protocol didn’t seem good enough to fix the issues, but after getting shocking results from all schools and realizing that there was a problem, the school did a great job taking precautions to make the water safe again for all staff and students.