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Beaverton School District to test for lead in water at all buildings

District officials said results of analysis will be made public in coming weeks


TIMES PHOTO: ERIC APALATEGUI - Elevated levels of lead were found in some of the drinking water tested at Highland Park Middle School in May, so bottled water is now available. The district will test water from all of its schools and other facilities.The Beaverton School District is trying to learn whether it has any more potential problems with lead in the drinking water on its campuses, an issue that recently came to light in one Beaverton school and also has raised concerns from Portland to Flint, Mich.

Officials expect to hire a company on Friday to collect water samples from every drinking fountain and faucet – including kitchens – in all Beaverton schools and district facilities during the coming weeks, spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler reported Thursday.

Wheeler said that testing will take another few weeks following the collection of samples. Results of those tests will be shared with the public, including on a new webpage to be added to the district website.

Portland Public Schools is drawing intense criticism for failing to disclose that prior water testing had uncovered worrisome levels of lead in school water.

In Beaverton, a safety committee authorized the district-wide testing May 13 in light of the discovery of potentially hazardous levels of lead in drinking water in areas across the country.

About a week and a half later, the district reported elevated levels of lead discovered in water tested from two drinking fountains at Highland Park Middle School. In response, officials shut down drinking fountains and provided bottled water throughout the school, a practice that will continue until the school’s aging plumbing system is replaced in 2017.

Wheeler said the staff is methodically checking the plumbing infrastructure and maintenance around the district and will take additional safety precautions wherever warranted.