Since the crisis in Flint, Michigan, thousands of parents have asked loudly, “Is our water safe?”
It's a question the Ellwood City Area School District wanted answered.
“We weren't trying to hide anything,” said superintendent Joe Mancini. “Once we did the testing and found those results, we wanted to alleviate parents’ concerns and make sure that kids are safe.”
In November, the school district tested more than 100 water fixtures in four buildings.
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Testing showed 18 spots with elevated levels of lead above what the EPA considers acceptable, including drinking fountains.
After getting the results, Mancini told Channel 11 the district acted quickly.
“There were only three drinking fountains that came back affected, so we shut those down immediately,” he said. “If there are further issues, we'll take care of those and be as transparent as possible.”
Mancini says those drinking fountains were in classrooms and dispensed warm water, so they were rarely used.
The other positive tests came from showers and sinks not used for drinking.
Testing the water is a new step at Ellwood City, but one Mancini expects will continue in the years to come.
“I don't recall and our building and grounds supervisor has been here for a while and he doesn't recall,” Mancini said. “We'll do regular testing as we go forward.”
The district conducted a second round of testing last month.
Mancini says there will also be a new policy requiring teachers and custodians to flush sinks and fountains for 30 seconds following weekends and holidays to reduce the risk of contamination.
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