Lead found in water at 2 Portland public schools

Parents had requested the tests

Portland Public Schools are shutting off all drinking fountains after lead was found in the water. (KOIN)
Portland Public Schools are shutting off all drinking fountains after lead was found in the water. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Portland school district says tests have found high levels of lead in drinking water at two schools.

KOPB-FM reports that the district found elevated lead levels six of 56 drinking fountains and other water sources that were tested this spring at Creston K-8. The district says it immediately began replacing those water fountains and sink fixtures.

Portland Public Schools spokeswoman Christine Miles says the district has budgeted money to test sinks and water fountains across all 78 school buildings this summer. Meanwhile, tests at its Rose City Park campus this spring also found lead levels above federal standards at eight of 36 fountains or sinks. Parents had requested the tests.

The Beaverton School District on Monday announced it had detected lead in two drinking fountains at one of its middle schools. School officials also say they will test 52 of their schools.

Superintendent Carole Smith sent an email Friday to parents in the PPS district. Smith apologized for not telling parents about the lead earlier.

“Portland Public Schools regrets not having notified families and staff as soon as the tests indicated that there were elevated levels of lead.  While PPS staff worked quickly to replace all fixtures that indicated elevated levels of lead, we did not turn off the water in those faucets and drinking fountains prior to them being replaced and we should have. The EPA’s best practices indicate that once elevated levels of lead are found, those water faucets should not be used for drinking or food preparation until they are replaced and retested.  We apologize for not following this protocol.”

PPS announced Friday night that the school is taking immediate steps to make sure all students and faculty have safe drinking water. A statement from Miles said they will be shutting down drinking fountains in all school by 10 p.m. Friday, provide bottled water.

They will also be preparing all food with bottled water and using disposable plates and utensils for the remainder of the year.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report.

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