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Environment & Climate Change

Elevated lead levels found in Farmington schools' water

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Steven Depolo
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Flickr Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

Across the state, more schools are testing their water for lead because of the Flint water crisis. And Farmington Public Schools is one of those school systems.

In a letter to district families, Superintendent George Heitsch said recent testing revealed slightly elevated levels of lead in six faucets and drinking fountains in five school buildings.

The letter reads, "To put this in perspective, the lead level is to not exceed the number 15 and the highest in this group was a 37. A level of 500 is considered to be 'high.'" 

The five sites listed were Beechview Elementary School (two drinking fountains), Harrison High School (one sink in the kitchen), North Farmington High School (a classroom faucet in a science room), Warner Upper Elementary School (a water fountain in the gym), and Visions Unlimited (a water fountain in the hallway).

Heitsch said the identified locations will be retested this weekend after flushing, and the district will share the results.

"If the retest came back positive in an area that we've found them, we would expand the testing in that building," said Heitsch.

According to Heitsch, this weekend's retesting will reveal whether flushing the identified areas has reduced the lead levels to below the action level of 15.  "If we're not able to do that, then we come up with an action plan to make sure that water is at the right levels. So that could include a filter at a drinking fountain. It could include some work further back in the water source."

Heitsch said any problems found will be promptly addressed because the safety of students and staff is the top priority. But it's not clear yet how much testing and what corrections will be necessary.

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