High Lead Levels Found in Water at Some St. Louis Schools

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS (AP/KMOX) – Preliminary testing shows lead contamination in the water in some St. Louis school buildings.

Water has been shut off at fountains and sinks in dozens of St. Louis Public School buildings. The district began testing all the water fountains in sinks for lead earlier this summer after the widespread lead contamination in Flint, Michigan.

St. Louis Public Schools spokesman Patrick Wallace says drinking fountains and sinks are shut off in several school buildings until pipes and faucets are replaced.

Wallace says the tests covered 744 water fountains and sinks at 74 school buildings. Based on preliminary data, 82 sources in 30 different buildings have a lead level in excess of 10 parts per billion.

Of those 30 buildings, 12 are providing bottled water to students and staff.

Among the schools is Meramec Elementary School. One drinking fountain and 11 sinks at Meramec are shut off due to unsafe levels of lead.

Principals sent letters home to all parents including at those schools with no water concerns.

“Corrective measures to remediate or replace each drinking fountain and sink are taking place as quickly as possible. In some cases, parts must be ordered and may delay immediate corrective action. However, all schools will have adequate sources of consumable water at all times,” Wallace says.

He adds, the testing of SLPS water fountains and sinks is being conducted under “the strictest conditions to ensure our water sources are as safe as possible for students and staff.” While corrective action is required for any level exceeding 20 parts per billion, the District says it has established a more stringent threshold of 10 parts per billion to address any potential future water issues.

High levels of lead exposure can contribute to decreased IQ or development of learning disabilities, especially in young children.

The following schools had at least one test sample indicate a lead level in excess of 10 parts per billion and are providing bottled water to students:

Beaumont High School

Carver Elementary School

Clay Elementary School

Fanning Middle School

Mann Elementary School

Nahed Chapman New American Academy

Northwest Law Academy High School

Patrick Henry Downtown Academy

Peabody Elementary

Shenandoah Elementary School

Sigel Elementary School

Sumner High School

The following schools had at least on test sample indicate a lead level in excess of 10 parts per billion, but have enough accessible water sources and are not providing bottled water:

AESM Middle School

Busch Middle School

Carr Lane Middle School

Clyde C. Miller High School

Compton-Drew Middle School

Cote Brilliante Elementary School

Galludet

Gateway STEM High School

Gateway Middle School

Herzog Elementary School

Hickey Elementary School

Laclede Elementary School

Langston Middle School

Long Middle School

Meramec Elementary School

Oak Hill Elementary School

Roosevelt High School

Vashon High School

Final test results are expected to be received by the District on August 25th.

(TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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