MARYSVILLE — Workers on Monday replaced fixtures at two Marysville schools where slightly elevated levels of lead in the water had been found.
Three water taps at Marysville Pilchuck High School and one at Marshall Elementary School were marked as unusable and replaced, according to a Marysville School District spokeswoman.
Also, one sink faucet was to be changed in an outbuilding at the Marysville School District Educational Service Center, spokeswoman Emily Wicks said.
The actions came as a result of voluntary tests conducted May 3 at every campus following reports of high lead levels in water at several elementary schools and a handful of older homes in Tacoma. Marysville officials received the results Friday and immediately marked those five taps as unusable, Wicks said.
“The Marysville School District’s highest priorities include the safety of our students, and full and transparent communication with our students, staff, parents, and community,” Superintendent Dr. Becky Berg said in a statement.
“Our facilities staff has done a sound job maintaining our buildings’ water safety, and we are pleased to have established a solid baseline for our entire district to continue to maintain and improve upon,” she said.
Workers collected 220 samples from drinking fountains and kitchen sinks at the district’s 11 elementary schools, four middle schools and eight high schools.
Of those, five were found with lead levels higher than the 15 parts per billion threshold for remedial action established by the Washington State Department of Health.
At Marysville Pilchuck High School, the level was 21 parts per billion at two outlets and 23 parts per billion at the other. At Marshall Elementary School it was 18 parts per billion, or .018 mg/l, and at the service center building it was 23 ppb, or .023mg/l.
For comparison, in Tacoma, testing discovered lead-contamination levels as high as 2,300 parts per billion.
In Marysville, tests also were conducted on randomly selected sinks typically not used for drinking water, Wicks said. Samples were drawn in the early morning to ensure the plumbing system had sat for at least eight hours, but no longer than 16 hours, she said. Each test sample was taken within 30 seconds of the tap running.
Higher levels of lead are often found in a “first-flush” or first 30 seconds after water has been standing overnight, Wicks explained in an email.
Those effects can dissipate as water is used throughout the day. Whenever water in a faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, health officials recommend running the tap for about 30 seconds until the water becomes cold.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; firstname.lastname@example.org