August 14, 2017
We have received the results of the Water Quality Testing for lead taken at Balmoral Elementary on June 10, 2017. The testing is required by The Lead in Drinking Water Testing Bill (LDWTB) which was signed into law by Governor Bruce Rauner effective January 17, 2017.
The LDWTB requires elementary school buildings constructed prior to January 1, 2000 serving 5th grade and below to test the following sources;
- Drinking fountain and drinking sources in buildings
- Classroom sinks in classroom under 1st grade (kindergarten and Pre-K)
Water testing followed the recommended protocol by Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the LDWTB. All water sources have two samples collected. The two (2) samples are intended to help identify if any concentrations are originating from the fixture or the potable water piping leading to the fixture.
Lead is a toxic metal that is harmful to human health. It most frequently gets into drinking water by seeping or “leaching” from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through a school’s distribution system. Even though the drinking water you receive from the water supplier may meet federal and state standards for lead, your facility may have elevated lead levels due to plumbing materials and water use patterns. Leaching can occur for several reasons but the most significant is corrosion which can occur if water is acidic.
Lead in new plumbing and plumbing repairs was banned in 1986. This ban did not entirely eliminate lead as 0.2% lead is still allowed in solder and 8% lead is allowed in piping systems. Pre-1986 plumbing systems have a higher potential to leach lead into drinking water.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has developed the following guidance for reducing lead in the drinking water in schools; “3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools: Revised Technical Guidance: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): October 2006 Version”
While there is no known safe level of lead in drinking water the guidance lists a recommended action level of 20.0 parts per billion (ppb) of lead. Effectively when lead concentrations are at 20.0 ppb or greater some action should be taken to reduce the concentration in the affected outlets.
The LDWTB requires the District to provide notification to parents identifying each location with a detected concentration exceeding 5.0 ppb. The concentrations of lead in samples at Balmoral Elementary can be viewed by clicking here.
Based upon the results of this testing the District is taking the following steps;
1. Classroom sinks where water can sit due to infrequent use will be taken out of service and labeled “Out of Service, DO NOT USE”.
2. Water fountains that exceed the USEPA’s recommended action level for lead in drinking water will be taken out of service and replaced with free standing water coolers.
3. The District will expand its Water Quality Management Plan.
If you have any questions, please contact the Office of District Affairs at 708-367-8344.
For additional information about lead in drinking water you can visit the USEPA’s website:
Dr. Nathaniel Cunningham, Jr.
Superintendent of Schools