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Oregon Trail schools water safe to drink, tests show

While other Portland-area school districts grapple with how to handle the recent discovery of elevated lead levels in their drinking water, the Oregon Trail School District announced last week that test results from early June show all of its school locations are far below the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level.

District spokesperson Julia Monteith said the district did not anticipate any problems with the water, but chose to have it tested to calm community concerns.

“We wanted to mitigate any fears,” Monteith said.

The EPA’s lead action level is 15 parts per billion, or 15 ppb. Firwood and Naas elementary schools and Sandy High School all had pH levels at 7.24, indicating that their water was within the normal balance range and not considered corrosive. Lead is most likely to enter drinking water through the deterioration of pipes. For that reason, those schools were not tested.

Here’s how each of the others schools tested:

n Welches Elementary School: 1.4 ppb

n Welches Middle School: 0.4 ppb

n Sandy Grade School: 1.6 ppb

n Cedar Ridge Middle School: 1.8 ppb

n Pioneer Building, current site of the Blended Learning Center: 1.8 ppb

n Boring Middle School: 1.2-10.7 ppb, tested June 6, 2016

n Kelso Elementary School: None detected, tested June 17, 2014

n Oregon Trail Academy: None detected-1 ppb, tested May 28, 2015

The test results from Boring Middle School, Kelso Elementary School and Oregon Trail Academy are shown as a range because they are the three schools in the district that draw their water from wells. Various areas within the school are tested. Also, the well schools are on mandated testing cycles.

About 10 years ago, Boring Middle School installed a neutralizing system to raise the pH levels, Monteith noted.