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Three Sherwood school water fixtures show elevated levels of lead

COURTESY OF SHERWOOD SCHOOL DISTRICT - Consultants hired by the Sherwood School District found elevated amounts of lead in three water fixtures at Middleton, Hopkins and Archer Glen elementary schools. Tests of Sherwood School District facilities show that three schools had fixtures had elevated levels of lead that exceeded the recommended amount of parts per billion set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Those fixtures are located in the Portable No. 26 at Archer Glen Elementary School, Classroom 1 at Middleton Elementary School and the kitchen at J. Clyde Hopkins Elementary School, according to a district press release.

The fixtures exceeded 20 parts per billion (or ppb) with the EPA recommending that schools with fixtures that consistently exceed that number to take voluntary measures to reduce that amount. The exact number of ppb of lead in those three fixtures was not immediately available.

However, as a result of the tests, the district has completely shut down and removed all three.

“In response to the test results, we have chosen to remove the fixture from Portable 26 at Archer Glen, as it is not required per the plumbing code and is no longer necessary for the educational function of the space,” states the release. “The kitchen fixture at Hopkins will be removed, replaced and retested. The classroom fixture at Middleton Elementary will also be removed, replaced and retested. These fixtures will remain out of service until further testing confirms they are below the EPA recommended action level.”

Samples of all district facilities were collected in June by PBS Environmental.

Concerns about the presence of lead in school water systems became an issue in Portland after several public schools were discovered to have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water. The greatest concerns for finding lead in pipes are with schools built prior to 1986, the year the federal government banned lead solder (used to bond those pipes) because it can leach into the water systems. Hopkins was built in 1950, Middleton in 2000 and Archer Glen in 1995 (although portables weren't added until later),

The last district-wide testing of water quality occurred in November 2001. At that time, lead was not found to be elevated above the recommended action levels issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency except for two fixtures at Hopkins, district officials reported. Those two fixtures were re-tested twice in 2002 and both times came back below the actionable EPA levels, according to the district.

Read the complete district news release here.