Dear Parents and Guardians,
Water testing for lead in schools and municipalities has made national and local headlines in the past couple of years. In January 2017, Public Act 099-0922 was passed, requiring that by year’s end (Dec. 2017) Illinois school districts complete water testing in all District sites built before Jan. 1, 1987. At St. Rose, 1 building met that criteria and was tested. The church building was also tested. A second phase requires testing in all buildings built between Jan. 2, 1987 and Jan. 1, 2000. Phase two must be completed by Dec. 31, 2018. The Illinois law only applies to buildings where pre-K through fifth grade students attend school.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) sets what’s called an “action level” for lead in water at 15 parts per billion (ppb), however, the Illinois law establishes more stringent guidelines, requiring districts to take action and notify parents if lead is found in water when levels are at or above 5 ppb. Please note that neither the 15 ppb, nor the state’s threshold is a health-based standard. Both the EPA and state levels were set to trigger systems to take action and mitigate the levels of lead, but are not accompanied by any requirements regarding medical tests or healthcare.
St. Rose complied with the new Illinois law and contracted with Weaver Consultants Group, an environmental health company, to undertake the first phase of testing. This was completed on October 3, 2017. The criteria for testing under Public Act 099-0922 and can be summarized as follows:
The water sample analysis revealed that seventeen (17) samples of the thirty‐five (35) collected had lead concentrations above the IDPH Action Level of 2 ppb (µg/L).
One (1) water fountain on the Jr High side had concentrations above the required level of 5ppb. This is the only water fountain that has not been replaced since the building was built. We have shut this fountain down and will be replacing it.
Five (5) of the six (6) kitchen sinks had concentrations above the required level of 5ppb. These results indicate the possibility that some of the locations of the samples either may not have been flushed or sat unused for more than 18 hours. As a result, St. Rose will implement a water quality management plan, which will include establishing a routine water flushing program for potable sources daily or during periods of low occupancy or low water usage, routine maintenance to clean screens and aerators, and confirmation sampling.
In summary, the results of the water sample analysis revealed that seventeen samples of the thirty-five had lead concentration above the IDPH Action Level of 2ppb. These results indicate the possibility that some of the locations of samples either may not have been flushed or sat unused for more than 18 hours. As a result, the following solutions have been put into place to manage the lead level in the water. We will then follow up with another lead test.
A full summary of the results is available on the school’s webpage www.strosewilmington.org.
The USEPA website for information about lead in drinking water, https://www.epa.gov/ground‐water‐and‐drinking‐water/basic‐information‐about‐lead‐drinking‐water.