Atlanta Environmental Management found elevated lead levels in water nearly half the school district’s 145 schools, administrative buildings and athletic facilities in initial testing, which ended this summer.
“We’re still retesting water sources at several schools,” said Chief Operations Officer Joshua Williams.
Williams said efforts to reduce the lead were continuing on water faucets and sinks in buildings where tests showed levels above 15 parts per billion, the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level. Signs should be posted on or next to water sources in buildings across the district that tested above that level, he said.
Williams said elevated lead was detected in 142 water sources of 4,582 tested. More than 130 of those have been retested.
At some schools, lead more than 150 times the EPA’s action level was discovered.
The district’s website for lead testing results shows more than 40 buildings still listed as not meeting standards during testing. Recent test results have not been reflected, Williams said.
“We haven’t had anything arise that would make us think we have a problem,” Green said after announcing testing. “The health and safety of all students and staff are, and always will be, our top priority.”
Testing began at the district’s oldest elementary school buildings, as lead would most likely be found in structures completed before 1986, and elementary school children are at the greatest risk of lead poisoning.
School water fountains should not exceed lead concentrations of 1 part per billion, according to the American Society of Pediatrics, which says even low lead levels could affect behavior and learning.
Atlanta Public Schools was the first Georgia district to test its water sources, beginning testing in the spring of 2016. Officials found 25 of 60 schools had water sources with lead levels above 15 parts per billion.
You can find information about your DeKalb County schools, such as test scores, graduation rates and school climate rating at the Ultimate Atlanta School Guide.
What was tested?
DeKalb Schools officials said water samples were collected from every water source in: