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UNSAFE LEAD LEVELS FOUND IN CUMBERLAND AND ROANE CO. SCHOOLS

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Tennessee officials continue to receive reports from school systems regarding testing of water to make sure it is within safe levels. Schools in the state are not only required to test the water students drink, but notification must be given within five days if those results are over a safe limit for lead.

According to a report by WVLT,  Roane County showed more than 50 faucets or water sources contain unsafe lead levels. Officials say the faucets and water sources there will be shut off and retested.

The only issues for Cumberland County included three hand washing sinks appearing to have lead. School officials are working to correct the issue and replace the faucets over the sinks.

1057 News talked to Cumberland County Director of Schools Janet Graham. She said the three sinks in Cumberland County involved Pine View Elementary School. The sinks were located in a locker room and have been removed upon the test results coming in. Further testing is scheduled to make sure levels are ok there.

“We are in the process of testing all schools in the county. This takes time and is also expensive as we are billed for every water fountain and spigot tested,” said Graham.

Public Chapter 977 was passed in the 2018 Tennessee Legislative session. It requires school districts to implement policies to test for lead in drinking water sources in schools.

Key points from the law are:

  • The legislation takes effect January 1, 2019.
  • All school districts must develop a policy to test drinking water sources in schools for lead.
  • Testing is to occur in schools constructed prior to January 1, 1998.
  • If results are greater than 15 parts per billion (ppb) but less than 20 ppb, the school shall conduct testing on an annual basis until retesting confirms the level is less than 15 ppb.

If results are equal to or greater than 20 parts per billion:

  • The drinking water source must be removed from service.
  • The Department of Health and other state agencies will be notified within 24 hours.
  • The school must notify parents and guardians of students within 5 business days.
  • Retesting of the lead level of the drinking water source must occur within 90 days of any corrective action.

 

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