CKSD tests water for lead

The Central Kitsap School District’s drinking water was recently given the all-clear from unsafe levels of lead. During the summer months, the district tested the drinking water in all the schools and support facilities for unsafe levels of lead.

“The study was not required but we endeavor always to provide the safest environment possible for the children of the district,” said Richard Best, CKSD facilities director .

Water was tested in three areas at each building: The building’s entry point; the building’s water pipes and at selected water faucets.

The tests to determine the levels of lead in the drinking water followed guidelines from the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington Department of Health — Office of Drinking Water.

If a test showed unsafe levels of lead, the fixtures were retested. If the retest also showed unsafe levels of lead, the district either replaced water fixtures or disconnected the water fixtures. If the water fixtures were for adult use, the faucets were marked “non-potable — do not drink.” After fixtures were replaced, the water was retested. For those tests that showed unsafe levels of lead, other faucets in that representative group (same age, placement and model) were tested and replaced if necessary.

Replaced fixtures included a kitchen sink faucet at Esquire Hills Elementary School, four drinking fountains at Jackson Park Elementary School, and drinking fountains at the Olympic High School language portable building.

At Ridgetop Junior High School, four science lab sinks will not be used until new fixtures are available.

The fixtures marked non-potable were a mop sink at Tracyton Elementary School and two lab sinks in staff rooms at Ridgetop Junior High. The lab sinks at Ridgetop Junior High will be replaced when new fixtures are available.

The levels of lead in the fixtures that would have been used for drinking or cooking ranged from 4 parts per billion to 15 parts per billion over acceptable levels before the district made fixture changes, according to district spokesperson Laurie Cizon.

“In speaking with the Washington Department of Health, Department of Drinking Water, we are assured that these amounts are minimal. In addition, the department representative tells us that there has never been an instance in the state of Washington in which drinking water caused lead poisoning,” Best said. “Nevertheless, because the safety of our children and staff is of primary importance to us, we have taken the necessary steps to ensure that our drinking water is fully acceptable.”

Spurred by recent reports of lead contamination in schools in Seattle, the Kitsap Public Utilities District also recently tested for lead in all the schools in its service area. KPUD serves 10 schools in the public water systems. Of those in the service area, only Green Mountain Elementary School is a stand-alone system. This school has been routinely sampled for lead since 1998. The rest of the schools have not routinely been sampled but the systems servicing them have been since 1993.

In all the tests, none of the systems were found to have lead levels above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion. Kitsap PUD serves Green Mountain and Seabeck elementary schools and Klahowya Secondary School.

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