DeKalb County will test all schools for lead contaminationA dripping faucet. Photo by Danny Steaven. Source: Wikimedia commons
The DeKalb County school district says it is testing all 150 of its schools and facilities for lead contamination, starting with the oldest elementary schools.
“Recent events have brought national attention to water quality issues,” a letter DeKalb County Schools to parents says. “Please understand that we have absolutely no evidence of water quality issues in any school or building. Still, we want students, staff, and the community to know our water is safe for consumption.”
Recent tests by Atlanta Public Schools found elevated lead levels in drinking water in half of the schools tested, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, even low levels of lead in drinking water can cause a number of health issues for children, including a lower IQ and behavioral problems. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes and other building materials containing lead.
DeKalb County’s testing will begin on Sept. 20. The county will test:
– All main water meters supplying buildings
– All kitchens
– All water fountains
– Bathroom sinks
– Ice machines
– Water sources in teacher lounges
– Athletic fields
Each location will be sampled twice, the county says.
“If any sample indicates a presence of lead at EPA action levels, we’ll immediately stop using water from that source, then repair or remove the problem,” the letter says. “We’ll provide bottled water, if needed, until any problem is fixed.”
Here is the full letter sent to parents regarding lead testing:
September 12, 2016
Dear DeKalb County School District family,
The health and safety of all students and staff are, and always will be, our top priorities.
With this in mind, the DeKalb County School District is proactively testing the drinking water for lead in each of our 150 schools, centers, and facilities.
Recent events have brought national attention to water quality issues. Please understand that we have absolutely no evidence of water quality issues in any school or building. Still, we want students, staff, and the community to know our water is safe for consumption.
Testing begins on September 20th. Collaborating with the DeKalb County Board of Health and the DeKalb County Government, we will sample:
· All main water meters supplying buildings
· All kitchens
· All water fountains
· Bathroom sinks
· Ice machines
· Water sources in teacher lounges
· Athletic fields
Beginning with the District’s oldest elementary schools, we’ll sample each location twice to ensure compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines for schools. If any sample indicates a presence of lead at EPA action levels, we’ll immediately stop using water from that source, then repair or remove the problem. We’ll provide bottled water, if needed, until any problem is fixed.
You’ll receive testing results in letters and on the District website at www.dekalbschoolsga.org/lead-testing. Please visit our website frequently for updates as well as additional information regarding water quality and lead testing. You may also send additional questions to DCSD_Communications@dekalbschoolsga.org.
We look forward to keeping you informed every step of the way as we ensure the health and safety of our students and staff.
Dr. R. Stephen Green, superintendent
Dr. S. Elizabeth Ford, director of the DeKalb County Board of Health
Lee May, Interim DeKalb County CEO