Everett schools testing finds lead in water in 7 places

EVERETT — Testing at Everett Public Schools buildings has revealed higher-than-permissible levels of lead in the water from seven sources.

Nearly 800 fixtures were tested district-wide.

The threshold for lead is set by the Environmental Protection Agency at 20 parts per billion (ppb) for schools and day cares. About 98 percent of the samples taken were under 15 ppb.

Four sources of lead were found at North Middle School: two drinking fountains that had not been previously fitted with filters, and two faucets in the staff room.

The staff room faucets also had the highest detectable levels with 36.7 ppb and 26.1 ppb. The two had tested positive for lead back in 2013 and were fitted with filters, but the tests were conducted with the filters off.

The other sources of lead were detected in a classroom sink faucet in Lowell Elementary School, which had been blocked and possibly not used for years, and two drinking fountains in the athletic building at Memorial Stadium.

Access has been restricted to the water from those sources, with the water to the classroom sink at Lowell immediately shut off.

All positive test sites will be retested in mid-July. After that, the district will either replace or install filters on any sources still testing positive.

The four sources in North Middle would be replaced with scheduled renovations of the school, which was approved as part of a bond ballot measure in April, but the district won’t wait to eliminate the source of the lead, spokeswoman Diane Bradford said.

In May, the Everett school district announced it would test many of its water sources after high concentrations of lead was detected in 13 Tacoma schools.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165; cwinters@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @Chris_At_Herald.

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