Several water fountains in DeKalb schools test positive for lead

Lead found in water at DeKalb County Schools

DeKalb County Schools released the latest round of results in its system-wide test for the presence of lead in drinking water. DeKalb Schools began testing their water after an 11Alive investigation about the lack of lead testing in local school districts.

The latest test results show two schools passed and four failed. The schools that failed are:

  • Stone Mountain Elementary: 5 drinking sources failed, primarily water fountains
  • International Community Charter at Medlock School: 2 drinking sources failed including 1 water fountain in the art room
  • Museum Avondale Estates Forest Hills Facility: 4 sources failed, including 2 water fountains and 2 sinks
  • Allgood Elementary: Sink in art supply room failed

DEKALB | High lead levels found in kindergarten classroom water fountain

The fountains and faucets at these schools, along with Redan Elementary which tests released last week showed had a fountain with high lead levels as well, have been turned off.  The district says they will remain out of service until repairs can be made and the water re-tested and deemed to be safe.

After Atlanta Public Schools found dozens of fountains and faucets with high lead levels, 11Alive Investigator Rebecca Lindstrom surveyed other metro schools and learned most were not testing for lead, or hadn’t tested in 30 years.

Photos: Atlanta Public Schools lead testing

Testing began last month and will continue through next summer. According to the DeKalb County Schools website, eight locations have been tested and five have had water sources, such as a fountain or faucet, that have failed.

In August when asked about their testing program, DeKalb County sent us this statement: “As a standard practice for the past 20 years, the District has not used any lead solder in any of our new construction, additions, or renovation work.  Also, all of our copper piping repairs are made using a press pipe joining process that does not require any soldering.  We continue to test and monitor water quality at all of our schools.” 

We asked for more information on how often water was tested and the number of schools included in the testing but never received a response.

In September, the district said it historically had only performed periodic spot tests.  Lindstrom asked, why the change?

"Well, we've had some internal discussions that we were doing periodic testing," explained Superintendent Stephen Green. "There were lingering questions as to whether that really was complete enough to know for sure."

DeKalb Schools have set up a new hotline to answer any questions about the lead testing program. It will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. The number is 678-676-1222.

Operators can answer general questions about the testing schedule and the results of tests posted online.

The DeKalb County Schools are posting testing results on their website. The system operates 150 schools and facilities with more than 100,000 students.

RELATED | 2,500 Georgia Children test positive for lead exposure

AND | Investigation: Thousands of Georgia children sickened by lead

ALSO | Investigation: Lead poisoning numbers may be higher than reported


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