High lead levels found in kindergarten classroom water fountain

Dangerous levels of lead found in school fountain

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. -- After an 11Alive investigation started asking what local school districts were doing to make sure its drinking water was safe, DeKalb County Schools announced it would test the water sources at every facility for lead.

On Wednesday, as the first results were released, Superintendent Stephen Green told 11Alive's Rebecca Lindstrom, he was glad they did. 

According to the district, lead content above the EPA's action level of 15 parts per billion was found at two drinking sources at Redan Elementary School. A fountain in a kindergarten classroom tested at 2,280 ppb. After flushing the fountain and waiting 30 minutes, testing still found nearly 200 ppb in the water.  

The district says the fountain was hardly used and that could explain the high lead levels.  Regardless, it has been turned off and will be replaced and retested before students are given access to it again.

"Had we not done this we would not have known," said Green.  "We need to know.  The question is, when you do, what did you do?  And I think we've taken appropriate action."

Another source of high levels was found in a sink in a boys restroom.  It tested at 24.2 ppb.  It has also been turned off until repairs can be made.

Results were also released for another school, DeKalb Preparatory Academy Charter.  Despite the age of the building, all of the water sources at that school were below federal guidelines.  DeKalb Preparatory was originally built in 1943.

Testing began Sept. 20, with one or two schools tested each day.  Results will continue to trickle in.  As the do, the district will post the results on its website so parents know exactly where the process stands.

Dr. Green says even if every other school passes the test, the effort was worth it.

"Absolutely. 100% worth it."

He says as the results come out, parents with concerns can go to their doctor to have their children tested for lead exposure or make an appointment with the county's Department of Public Health.

Elementary and older schools are being tested first. Redan Elementary was built in 1935.  But test results from APS' effort to ensure a safe water supply, show even schools built after the Lead Free Act, can have dangerous levels of lead.

An 11Alive Investigation this summer revealed most districts don't conduct district-wide tests for lead. 

Click here for updated results throughout the county.

RELATED | Atlanta Public Schools Lead Testing: How did your school do?

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

Photos | Atlanta Public Schools lead testing 

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