About 100 water sources have elevated lead levels at Albion schools

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2016 at 10:51 pm

ALBION – The school district has tested about 600 fixtures at water sources on the school campus and about 100 came back with lead levels at 15 parts per billion or greater, the threshold set by the state for elevated lead levels.

The district needs to take action on those water sources. Some of the fixtures have been remediated already, while others have either been turned off or have signs noting that the water from sinks should be used for hand-washing only and not drinking.

The district tested 138 water sources in cafeterias, everything from sinks to ice machines. There were six water sources that exceeded the state threshold for elevated lead levels, Michael Bonnewell, the district superintendent, advised the Board of Education this evening.

Of those six, four have been remediated and retested and are now below the 15 ppb threshold. The other two include one that has been remediated and is waiting to be rested, and the remaining one is soon to be remediated, Bonnewell said.

Outside the cafeterias, the district tested all other water sources. Three drinking fountains had elevated levels, but those three are rarely used, the superintendent said. One has been out of service due to a drainage issue, one is in storage area and the other is in the district office. All three won’t be used again until remediated.

About 80 other drinking fountains all had water under the state threshold. Shawn Liddle, the district’s assistant superintendent for business, credited Dan Shuler, the retired buildings and grounds superintendent, for leading a push to have filters installed in those fountains beginning about a decade ago.

Liddle said the tests provide good baseline information for the district to compare with in the future.

The water tests also showed elevated lead levels at 27 hand wash sinks, 30 science labs and 35 mop sinks/garden hose areas. Those spots have either been turned off or marked not for drinking.

“We’re prioritizing the areas of greatest potential use,” Bonnewell told the Board of Education.

The district is sending about 1,200 letters out to parents on Tuesday with a summary of the water test results. The information also should be posted on the district website later this week.

“There’s issues and we’re addressing it,” BOE President Margy Brown said.

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