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Elevated Lead Levels Found At Four District 87 Schools

District 87's Irving Elementary School.

District 87 notified parents this week that elevated lead levels were found in possible drinking-water sources at four of its elementary schools.

The elevated lead levels were found as a result of a new state law that went into effect Jan. 1, requiring that school districts test all drinking sources at older elementary schools.

In District 87, elevated lead levels were found at eight possible drinking sources in four schools: Bent, Irving, Oakland, and Sheridan schools, said Superintendent Barry Reilly. Most are kitchen-type sinks in cafeterias, he said, and others are sinks in nursing offices. One is a classroom sink that’s also used as a drinking fountain.

The district sent a letter to parents this week, noting that “the risk to an individual child from exposure to lead in drinking water depends on many factors, including a child’s age, weight, amount of water consumed, and the amount of lead in the water.” It referred parents to the EPA for more information.

“I’m not a health expert, but obviously if I’m a parent of a kid, I may have some questions,” Reilly told GLT on Thursday. “We provide them with some information to answer those questions. However, if they’ve got any concern about their child, we’d recommend that they see their physician to address that.”

Of the eight fixtures that showed elevated lead levels above the state threshold (5 parts per billion), four also tested above the higher federal lead action level of 15 parts per billion. That classroom sink/fountain did not, Reilly said.

District 87 has shut off each of the water sources and will address them by replacing fixtures, adding filters, and other changes. The total cost of that work is still being determined but is expected to be around $20,000, Reilly said.

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Ryan Denham is the digital content director for WGLT.
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