Yesterday the Elementary School was informed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s water division that four areas tested out of twenty had a higher level of lead and copper than is allowed. The four areas affected were all located in the faucets connected to the sinks inside classrooms. Astbury Water Technology, our water testing company, had done the same testing in June, and the school had passed. The Jr. Sr. High water was also checked and passed the standards both times.
According to Astbury Water Technology tests with raised elevations of lead and copper usually occur when water is not flushed out consistently in a faucet. Lead and copper leach from the pipes and stay in the water if there is no movement of the water within the pipes. The four areas affected are typically not used as much by staff and students, especially over the July and August months. High usage areas like the kitchen and water faucets did not get a red flag. This is why school did not need to be cancelled. Instead we were told to put a visible barrier over the sinks of the four flagged areas until the problem was resolved.
Astbury has advised us to add pumps to the water systems at each building to introduce very low levels of phosphates to the water. The phosphates will act as a barrier between the pipes and the water. This should eliminate the problem altogether. Also, Astbury assured us the phosphates would not be harmful to people or animals. Phosphates are typically found in soda, and we were told the amount would be at a rate almost ten times less than soda.
Therefore, our next step is to approve Astbury to install these pumps and allow them to work. Then we will retest the water to make sure they work. We expect this to happen as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding as we work through this issue. Our aim is to keep the school environment safe for your student(s).
Mitchell D. Mawhorter