School district takes measures to ensure water safety for students, staff
Preliminary testing found lead in the drinking water of some St. Louis public school buildings. The St. Louis Public School District is taking steps to ensure the drinking water is safe for students.
According to Roger CayCe, deputy superintendent of operations for St. Louis Public Schools, the district began testing the water during the summer months and has since shut off drinking fountains and sinks that tested positive for lead.
CayCe said that 74 school buildings tested with a total of 744 water sources, and preliminary data shows that 82 sources in 30 school buildings have lead levels higher than 10 ppb. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires action if lead levels exceed 15 ppb.
The district is making immediate improvements to rectify the situation. Of the 30 contaminated buildings, 12 are providing bottled water to students and staff.
The district does not believe the lead is coming from St. Louis city water; it believes it's from the old pipes and faucets in its schools.
“I'm surprised, because I really thought it would be more,” said CayCe. “These are old buildings and lead, people have to understand that use of lead in buildings was allowed up until the 80s.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no amount of lead in the body is safe, as it could lead to health issues.
“Once we investigate and take action, it could be replace a faucet, then the next step is that water has to be retested,” CayCe said.
Final testing results will be released Aug. 25.