Schools to test for lead in drinking water

Governor says no 'imminent public emergency' has been discovered

Due to findings of lead in drinking water in schools around the state and concerns raised by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Camas School District is conducting its own testing for lead. All schools built before 2000 will be analyzed. These are Dorothy Fox Elementary, Lacamas Heights Elementary, Liberty Middle School and Skyridge Middle School. The Zellerbach Administration Center, which houses Community Education preschools and before/after school care, will also be tested.
BSK Associates Engineer & Laboratories is conducting the testing. Results take 10 business days to process.
“We are following information and guidance from the Department of Health (DOH) for lead testing in our older facilities,” said Doreen McKercher, school relations coordinator.
“Testing results as well as any needed response will be immediately communicated with families.”
McKercher added that schools built after 2000 meet current regulations.
In the Washougal School District, Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle schools were tested in September 2015. No lead was detected. Those schools use water provided from a well, and the district follows the state Department of Health’s lead testing guidelines and schedule.
The district’s other five schools are on the municipal water system.
“As a precautionary measure, the Washougal School District has taken samples and are awaiting lab results,” said Superintendent Mike Stromme. “We hope to receive these in the next two weeks.”
Earlier this week, Inslee issued a directive to the state Department of Health and partner agencies to assist local communities with lead testing and take steps aimed at reducing lead exposure in Washington.
“While no imminent public emergency has been discovered, recent detections of lead in some water systems are highlighting the important roles our water utilities, schools, public health departments and the state play in ensuring we all have access to safe, clean drinking water,” he said. “This directive will better ensure we’re working in coordination and leveraging resources effectively to tackle lead at all its primary sources, whether it’s water, paint or soil.”
Inslee’s directive charges DOH and other state agencies to take action to reduce the exposure to lead, not only in drinking water, but also in the state’s infrastructure and places children are proven to be most susceptible to exposure, such as older buildings that may have lead paint.