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Lead testing in Drinking Water

posted Nov 10, 2017, 8:08 AM by Diana Chimbolo LE STA
Dear Parents/Guardians and Staff:
Our school volunteered to take part in a pilot project to test 16 Vermont schools for lead in drinking water. By participating in this project, we are taking a proactive approach to health and safety. Lead rarely occurs naturally in water supplies, and the public water supply we are on is regularly tested. However, drinking water can become a source of lead exposure if a building’s plumbing or fixtures contain lead.
In the coming months, we will collect water samples throughout the school and send them to the Health Department Laboratory to be analyzed for lead. This is a joint effort of the Department of Health, Agency of Natural Resources and Agency of Education.
How long will it take to get the results? We expect results to be available 2-4 weeks after water samples are collected and sent to the Health Department Laboratory for analysis. We will send a summary of the results to parents/guardians and staff immediately upon receipt of the Health Department’s report. Results will also be posted on the Health Department’s website at healthvermont.gov/school-drinking-water .
What will happen if there is lead in the drinking water at the school? Any tap with a lead level at or above the Environmental Protection Agency’s action level for public drinking water of 15 parts per billion (ppb) will be taken out of service immediately. When a fix is implemented and follow-up testing indicates levels are below the action level or, ideally, below detection, the tap will be put back in service.
Our school is committed to taking action to reduce lead levels as low as possible. We will work with staff from the Agency of Natural Resources to determine the most effective means of fixing the problem with a progression of corrective actions. There are many easy and low-cost fixes to reduce lead in drinking water. For example, one school that recently tested in Vermont found that they could reduce lead levels by simply running the taps for 30 seconds each morning.
What are the sources of lead exposure? Exposure to lead is a public health concern in Vermont. Potential sources include dust from
deteriorated lead-based paint, toys, keys, jewelry, pottery, dishes, contaminated soil, old plumbing pipes and fixtures, imported candy and foods, and antique, vintage and salvaged goods. While a major source of lead poisoning in Vermont children is paint, lead in plumbing
pipes and fixtures can add to a person’s overall lead exposure. To test your own home for lead in drinking water, contact the Health Department Laboratory to order a $12 test kit:
● Call: 802-338-4736 or 800-660-9997 (toll-free in Vermont)
● Fill out an order form: healthvermont.gov/lab/forms
Where can I get more information?
For more information regarding the testing project:
● Call Mike Toumisto at 802-875-5151
● Visit: www.ludlowelementary.org
To learn more about lead hazards and lead poisoning prevention, contact the Health
Department:
● Call: 800-439-8550
● Visit: healthvermont.gov/lead
Sincerely,
Karen Trimboli, Principal
Ludlow Elementary School
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