BEND, OR -- Slightly elevated levels of lead were found in drinking water samples from two local schools, based on recently released test results. Bend-La Pine Schools officials began testing for lead and copper in district-owned properties after elevated levels were found in several Portland schools, earlier this year. In June, samples taken from one water source in each district facility showed safe levels.
Julianne Repman tells KBND News, "In September and into October, we went out to all of our school sites built before 1980 and we took a water sample from the drinking fountains and faucets where we prep food; that was 351 fixtures. And, we found that we had two fixtures - so, two drinking fountains that had slightly elevated levels of lead." She says, "Those were at La Pine Middle School in a classroom that’s not being used by students, currently; And, in Amity Creek Elementary that was in a classroom that students are being educated in, currently." Lead was found in the Amity Creek fountain at 28 parts per billion, and in the La Pine MS fountain at 31 parts per billion. The Environmental Protection Agency "action level" is 20 ppb.
"We’re actually going to test every drinking fountain and food prep site again in those two schools," says Repman. "We’turned off the drinking fountains and we are bringing in bottled water for students. We’re letting students use hand-washing locations in bathrooms. The lead, as what we’ve heard from the EPA, is not something you have to be concerned with hand washing; it’s the consumption. So, we’ll be doing that for probably two weeks, or until we get the results back from this last round of testing." She says additional samples will be taken at both schools on Thursday morning.
Click HERE for the full report on testing done at facilities built before 1980. Repman says more testing is underway. "We’ve just completed gathering all of our tests from all of our school sites and work sites built after 1980. We expect to have those results back from the lab in mid-November."